Draw of lots for liquor shops held amid protests by women

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22 leaders taken into preventive custody in Ongole

The draw of lots for 331 notified liquor shops began amid protests by women’s organisations affiliated to the Left parties here on Friday evening.

Police took into preventive custody 22 protesting leaders of CPI(M)-led All India Democratic Women’s Association, CPI-led National Federation of Indian Women and CPI(ML) New Democracy-led Progressive Organisation for Women (POW) as the activists tried to proceed from the busy Church centre towards the venue for making the liquor shop allotments.

Special Deputy Collector (Gundlakamma project), designated by Prakasam District Collector Sujata Sharma and Excise Deputy Commissioner G. Joseph, began the process of allotment of liquor shops which would go on till midnight.

Over 4,000 people staked their claim for the 331 liquor shops.

There were no applicants for 15 shops, mostly located close to the national highways passing through the district.

‘Revenue-driven policy’

POW State secretary B. Padma said it was unfortunate that the Chandrababu Naidu’s government ‘viewed liquor as a money spinner for the government’.

AIDWA district secretary Munwar Sultana said that the TDP which came to power promising to curb the social menace of liquor was continuing its ”revenue-driven” excise policy.

The government should bow to the people’s demand by not opening liquor shops in areas where there was stiff opposition from local people to the location of the outlets, demanded NFIW leader Lakshmi Seshu.

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