Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Baisistha Bujarbaruah on February 18 has strongly criticized the Himanta Biswa Sarma-led BJP government, calling for it to reduce its dependence on revenue from the sale of alcohol.
Speaking in the presence of several BJP leaders, including Dilip Saikia, Chandra Mohan Patowary, Jayanta Malla Baruah, Ranjit Das, Ramen Deka, Phani Sarma and Ashok Sarma, Bujarbaruah argued that the state should instead focus on providing dairy licenses and on the promotion of campaigns against drugs and other banned substances, in order to protect society.
Bujarbaruah further argued that the government should stop issuing liquor licenses in the state and work in partnership with society to eliminate the scourge of drug addiction, using all means at its disposal to halt the drug trade.
The comments come after Cabinet minister Parimal Suklabaidya announced on November 3, 2022, that the government was planning to issue more liquor licenses to shops in the state, with the aim of providing consumers with access to quality and legally-produced alcohol, and reducing the incidence of life-threatening diseases associated with the consumption of illicit alcohol. The government will also test locally-produced tribal drinks for quality and supply them legally to consumers.
Suklabaidya emphasized that the government is not promoting drinking but rather seeking to ensure that those who do drink have access to safe and legal products. He noted that at least 30 people die each year in the state as a result of consuming illicit drinks of poor quality. The state's excise department continues to destroy large quantities of illicit alcohol on a daily basis.
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