Madhya Pradesh shuts down liquor shops along Narmada

HOSHANGABAD: Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan seems to be on a cleansing drive. On Monday, while launching a massive project to clean up the river Narmada, he announced that all liquor shops within 5km of the riverbank will be shut down.

This comes in the wake of de-addiction rallies being held by the chief minister in several parts of the state, triggering speculation that Madhya Pradesh could be the third state to enforce prohibition. The state government earns around Rs 7,300 crore a year from excise duty on liquor.

On Monday, he was addressing a large gathering after the culmination of a 3-km march ‘Narmada Sewa Yatra’, under his ambitious Namami Devi Narmade project. “How many of you like drinking liquor?” asked the chief minister. The crowd roared back: “No”.

In the same breath, the CM laid down the “evils of liquor”. “Drinking liquor is not only injurious to health but also disturbs family life,” he said, adding that many men who get drunk beat their wives and abuse children. “Therefore, I have decided to shut all liquor shops along the Narmada banks, be it Bedagat, Budhni or Hoshangabad,” said the CM, taking everyone by surprise. As the women cheered, the CM hurled a question at the people of Hoshangabad: “I hope you all are happy, and no one is disappointed with my decision.” The women cheered louder.