Hooch tragedy dominates second day of Assembly Session
The issue of deaths caused by spurious liquor in Haridwar district dominated the Vidhan Sabha proceedings on the second day of the Budget Session. The Vidhan Sabha Speaker, Prem Chand Agrawal, allowed debate on the hooch tragedy under rule 310 during which the Opposition members sought resignation of the Chief Minister and Excise Minister on moral grounds.
Bhagwanpur MLA Mamta Rakesh said that most of the victims were from poor backward families. The families of those who died and those who fell sick after consuming spurious liquor do not have enough money to even run their homes, she said.
Chakrata MLA and Congress state president Pritam Singh said that even after 36 people died and many more fell ill, the State Government had remained insensitive.
He said that locals had been complaining for long about illicit liquor business but effective action was not taken by the authorities concerned. Stating that such governmental insensitivity had not been witnessed in the State so far, he said that even the compensation money announced to the bereaved families is to be paid after receipt of the post mortem report.
He demanded that compensation for bereaved families be raised from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 10 lakh. Stressing that the State Government is fully responsible for the incident, he demanded resignation of the Chief Minister and Excise Minister on moral grounds. Congress MLA Govind Singh Kunjwal said that illicit liquor had become a regular source of income for many across the State. The talk among the general public is that this business is thriving since bribes are paid to people from the bottom to the top in the Government. Another opposition MLA Karan Mahra questioned why action had been taken only against junior officials while the seniors had been left untouched.
He also questioned why the district excise officer who had been transferred earlier due to questionable aspects was brought back to the district.
He also said that some senior officials are busy more on social media than on taking effective actions to prevent such major incidents. He also sought proper resources for excise department staff to enable them to tackle elements involved in the illicit liquor business.
MLA Harish Dhami said that truckloads of illicit liquor are being transported in all mountainous regions too across the State.
Regarding the Haridwar incident, he questioned why only junior officials were suspended and stressed that action should also have been taken against the departmental director and district magistrate.
Responding to the opposition, Parliamentary Affairs and Excise Minister, Prakash Pant, said that the State authorities had acted many times against illicit liquor business in Ballupur itself in the past too.
He said that the root cause of this tragedy is a social evil and stressed that the Government will not allow the illicit liquor business to continue under any circumstances.
Wednesday, 13 February 2019 | PNS | Dehradun
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