A day after spurious liquor took the lives of five people in Vijayawada, YSR Congress Party president Jaganmohan Reddy on Tuesday called for total prohibition in Andhra Pradesh.
"Gujarat government has been successfully implementing total prohibition in the state. Recently, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar is contemplating prohibition in his state. Why can't Chandrababu Naidu (AP chief minister) initiate such action? The policy of the current government to set a target in the sale of liquor causes corruption and gives rise to sale of spurious liquor. In a bid to meet the sales target, wine shops are allowed to stay open round-the-clock and they in turn allow unauthorised shops to function" a PTI report quotes Jagan as saying.
Six people died and 15 others were critical on Monday, after they consumed alcohol that had allegedly been mixed with cheap illicit liquor at the bar of a reputed hotel on the outskirts of Vijayawada before heading out to work
Police said they suspected that Indian-made foreign liquor was mixed with illicit liquor or the IMFL itself may have been contaminated.
Following the incident, the bar staff was arrested and reportedly confessed to mixing some chemical they could not name during interrogation.
"If methanol is mixed in liquor, it would cause blurred vision, vomiting, diarrhoea and a reeling sensation. But in this case the victims died in just a few minutes and some fell unconscious after coming out of the bar. We suspect that some poison or a highly concentrated chemical was mixed in the liquor," Prohibition & Excise commissioner M.K. Meena told The Hindu.
Jagan was addressing reporters after visiting the government hospital where victims of the incident were undergoing treatment.
Stating that the total sale of liquor in Andhra Pradesh in 2014-15 had raked in thousands of crores, Jagan said his party would impose total prohibition if it got elected "in the interest of the poor and women".
Meanwhile chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the families of the deceased.