Gadchiroli Dec. 11 (District Correspondent) Noted social workers Dr. Abhay Bang and Dr. Rani Bang have strongly opposed the opening of mahua liquor factory in Gadchiroli and have demanded its early closer.
In a memorandum sent to the chief minister Dr. Bang has said that Gadchiroli is a tribal district. Liquor ban has been in place here for 30 years to protect tribals from alcohol. A district-wide experiment of making Gadchiroli alcohol and tobacco free is successfully underway under the task-force under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister. Women in 1100 villages are making concerted efforts to stop liquor.
Even after all this, in Gadchiroli MIDC, the Minister for food and Drugs Administration Mr. Dharmarava Baba Atram performed Bhoomipujan of Mahua liquor factory which is being opened by ‘LTB Beverage’. Government permission has been obtained for this secretly, keeping the people and pro-liquor organizations in the dark. Such a big anti-tribal act is being done in Nagpur when the legislative session is going on.
It is the official policy of the central government and the state government that liquor trade and sale of liquor should not be allowed in tribal areas. (Excise Policy for Scheduled Areas) Besides, the Maharashtra government has implemented liquor ban in the district since 1993 in response to the widespread movement in this district.
Opening a liquor factory in this district, which is moving towards liquor freedom, will be a step against tribals and women, it has been pointed out.
For this factory Mahua flowers will be bought from the tribals and after its alcohol is made in the factory, it will be stolen and sold back to the tribals at a high price through hidden and illegal means. This will be a violation of the Prohibition Act and Tribal Protection Policy. Will the government itself violate its laws and policies; Bangs have asked?
After the Maharashtra government lifted the ban on liquor in the neighbouring Chandrapur district two years ago, the government is unable to stop illegal liquor sold by crossing the border into Gadchiroli. Then the government will definitely be unable to stop the liquor produced in the district from reaching the homes of the tribals. Will the self-imposed prohibition contribute to the failure of the state government itself, it has been further asked.
On behalf of Zilla Darumukti Samiti and Muktipath Association from1100 villages, it is requested that approval of the proposed factory be revoked immediately and Maharashtra Government should declare in the legislature that it is committed to protect the people of Gadchiroli district from alcohol, said the memorandum.
The memorandum is also signed by the tribal leaders Hiramanji Warkhede and Dewaji Tofa.