BHOPAL: Booze is giving a real headache to Madhya Pradesh government, literally! Amidst murmurs about prohibition and chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s assertion during Narmada Seva Yatra not to let liquor vends operate in areas where local resident’s protest, women have turned the heat on the government.
Outrage is pouring in from at least a dozen districts where women have taken up the cudgels against liquor shops near residential areas.
On Monday, women were out on the streets in some districts, including one in the backyard of chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s residence in Sherpura locality of Vidisha.
School children in uniform broke open the lock of a liquor shop in Vallabh Nagar locality of Vidisha district located close to their school and demanded its removal.
In another incident, a few kms from Sagar district headquarters in Gadhakota, women pelted stones on a truck carrying liquor bottles to a shop. The women in have been agitating against the shop.
In Begamgunj village in neigbouring Raisen district, agitating women set on fire a liquor shop.
More than 450 kms from Begamganj, another group of women held a similar demonstration against a liquor shop in Joura tehsil of Morena district. Residents in Joura have formed, ‘Sanjay Nagar Nasha Mukti Sangharsh Morcha’ and have been staging a sit-in for the last two days. Shanti Jain a resident of Joura tehsil said, “The district administration has assured us that the new shop would be shifted.”
And the list goes on. Sarla Devi, a resident of Vidisha said, ‘The liquor shop at Sherpura near CM’s house has just been shifted. This is about 100 meters away from a railway track. Large number of families live in the locality and the shop will spoil the atmosphere.”
Munna Bhaiya, president of Vidisha Vyapar Sangh said, “Women and children would be affected the most if the shop continues at this place.”
Women of Gairatpur locality in Gairatganj were in action on Saturday when they set ablaze a newly shifted shop in a farm field.
State’s finance minister Jayant Malaiya in whose native district of Damoh at least two such agitations are going on told TOI, “The problem lies with the shifting of new shops that have come under the criteria of Supreme Court guidelines. The court has directed to close down all such shops that were located within 500 meters of highways.”
When asked that the government would have easily closed those shops instead of shifting them, he said, “We are not bothered about the revenue. We would have closed them but then there would not have been no guarantee of availability of spurious liquor in the market.”
“Government would first Educate people of the ill-effects of liquor before closing them down,” Malaiya said. After fresh auctions of liquor shops, the state government has got 11% higher revenue, he said.