As the Delhi government comes under heavy criticism over its liberal liquor licensing policy, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) National Vice Chairman and Delhi official Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda hit out Friday the government of Odisha comparing its excise policy to that of Delhi has just been announced.
Panda spoke to OTV following his speech at a massive virtual rally held in the nation’s capital to protest the Delhi government’s new excise policy,
Drawing comparisons to Odisha, Panda called on the Naveen Patnaik-led government to reverse its decision to arbitrarily open liquor stores to stop ruining the lives of young people in the state.
He also called on women in the state to raise their voices on the issue.
Earlier, Party Leader and Union Minister Smriti Irani and Panda addressed a virtual rally demanding the closure of liquor outlets near schools, temples and other unauthorized religious places.
Addressing the rally, Panda said, “Delhi’s new excise policy has been introduced to ruin the people of the nation’s capital. The Delhi government then opened liquor stores near religious places and housing societies, which is almost similar to what Naveen Patnaik is doing in Odisha.
“The Kejriwal government had proposed to open 850 liquor stores in the nation’s capital. However, after facing strong reactions from the public, about 300 stores were closed or unable to open. I want a similar movement from women and youth in Odisha to shut down liquor stores there as well,” Panda added.
Women in Odisha have consistently raised their voices against the sale of alcohol near their villages. In November last year, as part of an anti-alcohol protest, a large group of women allegedly ransacked a shop at Telkoi Block in Keonjhar district of Odisha. Thousands of women burst into the store, collected all the stock of foreign liquor worth several thousand rupees and smashed them one by one.
A video also went viral last year of a little boy carrying a bag full of foreign liquor bottles on his shoulders.
Captured by a reporter, the little boy could be seen in the video picking up the liquor bottles from a recently opened government liquor store in Koira area of Sundargarh district. When the reporter followed the boy to the store, he found an excise officer sitting inside the outlet.