Plea to ban liquor
By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, Oct 2: Two BJP MPs from Assam – Union Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain and RP Sarmah – are poles apart on the issue of liquor.
Contrary to Sarmah’s appeal to social organizations like the AASU and the AJYCP to make liquor ban a reality in the State on Sunday, Gohian on Monday expressed his opposition to total ban on liquor in the State. The Union Minister said this while releasing a magazine – BJP Varta – at Atal Bihari Vajpayee Bhawan in the city on Monday. “I won’t say total ban on liquor in the State will be a just decision. I, however, would like to say that the rampant and open use of liquor should be controlled. New licenses for liquor shops shouldn’t be issued. Even if liquor is banned in the State, people will continue to drink liquor illegally as is the case with galand. In such a situation, the State Government will lose revenue for no rhymes or reasons,” Gohain said, and added: “The Supreme Court of India’s directive asking State governments not to allow the setting up of any liquor shops within 500 metres near tiol highways should be strictly adhered to.”
Gohain rather hailed the decision taken by the State Government on country liquor. “Drinking country liquor has a long history in Assam. It dates back to the British Raj in the tea gardens. If it is banned, people will consume more spurious liquor,” he said.
On the much talked about Cabinet expansion in the State, Gohain said: “It’s the Chief Minister’s prerogative. We hope he’ll fill up the remaining berths of his Cabinet. All berths in the downsized Cabinet have to be filled up so as to make the government dymic.”
Gohain also said that the Cabinet to be expanded should have a face from his Lok Sabha constituency – gaon. “gaon is a prestigious constituency,” he said.
When asked as to why Dispur has given Rs 70-crore DPR contract to Luis Berger at a time when an inquiry is going on against its alleged corruption, Gohain said: “Luis Berger is a good technical firm. It has good engineers and other manpower. An inquiry is going on against the company which has not been blacklisted as yet.”
On the condition of roads in Assam, Gohain said: “This is because of rains. From this month things are going to change for the better. Works of various projects will be executed now and it won’t take much time to change the shapes of the roads in the State.”