Liquor consumption was never a serious problem in Haryana as most citizens refrained from drinking. However, with rapid urbanization, a lot of wealth has been created in the state but one negative side effect has been the significant rise in liquor consumption. This has further resulted in a spurt in crime and deterioration in domestic peace and harmony.
However, there is another fallout of this demand for liquor both within the state and outside. The number of illegal shops selling liquor has risen dramatically. These shops have the unofficial support from vested interests in various arms of the government including the revenue department and police that turn a blind eye to these illegal shops. The involvement of local politicians cannot be ruled out either.
The illegal liquor shops sell all kinds of liquor from very cheap quality to imitation of big brands. The problem is that there is wide spread demand from the people for cheap liquor and they do not know the risks associated with drinking this so called liquor which is made up of all kinds of dangerous chemical mixes. Unfortunately, the people who largely buy from these illegal shops come from very poor backgrounds and are mostly illiterate and do not know that consuming this dangerous mix may lead to blindness, partial paralysis, speech loss besides other related complications, leading to death. The unsuspecting customer only looks at the high he gets from this cheap liquor.
The addiction levels are so high that most of the buyers who are daily wage earners spend most of what they earn in the day, on buying cheap liquor from illegal shops, by night. This leaves very little money for him to give to his family to buy daily essential food etc. This leads to fights and other forms of physical and mental abuse on his wife, who very often has to bear the brunt of a drunk and violent man, every night.
Capt. Abhimanyu's vision for Naya Haryana is a state where the people live a healthy and happy life and therefore his vision to tackle this social evil is at two levels. The first is to initiate a wide spread education and awareness program using social media, public contact programs like street plays, Nukkad meetings in residential areas and organizing workshops at alcohol rehabilitation centres, where the people will be educated on how different types of liquor harm the human body and what are the risks of frequently consuming illicit liquor.
The large number of illegal shops selling illicit liquor is due the fact that there are vested interests involved in making a lots of money.
First, the person who brews the liquor makes money by selling to the illegal shop owners. The illegal shop owners then pay various government officials including the police, on a monthly basis, to look the other way. These corrupt officials ensure that a share goes to local politicians, who in turn provide protection to the illegal liquor shop owner from the police and excise officials interfering in their business. Besides, the politicians use these outlets to supply free liquor to the voters during elections and other political events. It's a vicious racket that is operating at the cost of the common man's health, who has no other choice but to buy cheap and dangerous quality liquor from these illegal shops.
And in all this, there is ZERO revenue earned by the state. In addition, there is no system to check the quality of liquor being sold to unsuspecting clients. Both these problems can be tackled by legalizing the illegal shops and forcing the retailers to sell only branded liquor that has been certified to be fit for human consumption. This will ensure that the state earns a revenue from all sales of liquor in the state and also ensure that no one is at risk due to poor quality of liquor.
According to Capt. Abhimanyu, under Naya Haryana, the liquor policy will be reviewed and no illegal sale of liquor will be allowed to be sold anywhere in Haryana. All concerned departments will be held accountable if illegal liquor shops are found to be operating in their areas. The health and safety of all citizens of Haryana is a priority and the same shall not be allowed to be compromised.
In addition, we shall also ensure that the present system of auctioning of licenses to liquor vendors then leaving them to sell at their own prices, will be reviewed. Instead, Naya Haryana will try and bring in a rational price and tax structure which will maximize the revenue to the state, while ensuring the price differential between retail price in Haryana and other states in minimized. This will ensure that inter-state smuggling of liquor will become unviable and reduce significantly.
In May this year, the Haryana Excise and Tax Commissioner said that the state would suffer a loss of Rs 1,350 crore on account of shifting of these liquor shops from the highways. While these measures may reduce the state's revenues for the present government, under Naya Haryana we shall ensure that innovative measures are put in place so that the state can make up the loss in revenues from other areas. Haryana does not need to prosper on sale of liquor or at the cost of people's health and safety.
The people of Haryana have led a simple life, eating simple and healthy food for centuries and it is time that all joined hands to renew our commitment to healthy living with a healthy lifestyle. Let us all say NO to liquor and NO to illegal liquor shops in the state.
We all need to commit ourselves to a cleaner, greener and healthier Haryana and it's time we all joined hands for building a Naya Haryana.