Tussle on: Nath says Govt hell bent on opening liquor shops

The political tussle on opening of liquor outlets is far from over in Madhya Pradesh as former Chief Minister Kamal Nath here on Wednesday alleged that the Shivraj Government was hell-bent on re-opening liquor shops despite the liquor traders are not willing.

Nath’s tweet came shortly after Sangam Liquor Traders’ Association’s decision of not opening liquor vends in the city on Wednesday in which the liquor body representing 90 liquor shops in Bhopal declined to re-open shops citing safety reasons amid corona scare.

President of the association Hamid Khan told that a decision of not opening the liquor outlet has been taken in view to ensure safety of the public and employees of liquor vends as well amid novel coronavirus outbreak.

“We are of the view that these shops will re-open once things normalise and Covid19 scare subsides,” Khan added.

The association members had met Home Minister Narottam Mishra on Tuesday over their demands but could not get any assurance. We demanded licence duty on the basis of existing sales but the Minister did not offer any convincing reply, added Khan.

The traders are demanding that licence fee should be lowered as shops were closed for well over one month and half and also fear that sales could be dismal amid lockdown prohibitions and they could end up paying heavy licence fee.

Meanwhile, former Chief Minister Kamal Nath also tweeted that the Shivraj Government was forcefully making liquor traders to re-open shops despite the fact the public and even traders were against this decision.

“School colleges might be closed, people might not be getting medicines and milk, religious places are shut down but liquor shops are being opened. These are same person who while in Opposition used to raise opposition on liquor and used to term liquor a threat to women,” Nath said in another tweet.

After coming to power, these people have turned into biggest advocates of liquor, added Nath, claiming the State might be gripped by novel coronavirus but they (BJP Government) want unhindered flow of liquor.

Amid lockdown 4.0, the Government has declared urban areas of Bhopal as red zone while rural areas now fall under green zone and are to witness opening of liquor shops.