The Telegraph
Tuesday , May 6 , 2014

Liquor in godown angers traders

A group of residents and local traders under the aegis of Hind Sewa Samiti protested in front of the district collectorate on Monday against state government’s decision to open a liquor warehouse at Krishi Utpadan Bazaar Samiti (KUBS) near an educational institution in Parsudih.

The sewa samiti claimed that traders’ rights had been ignored and instead of allotting the space to them it had been allotted to Jharkhand State Beverages Corporation Limited (JSBCL).

“The warehouse of Jharkhand State Beverages Corporation Limited is against the regulation of the bazaar samiti which is meant for traders engaged in agricultural products. However, the space in KUBS has been allotted for stocking liquor products,” said Sambhu Dungri, president of the sewa samiti.

The members, at least 20 of whom joined the protest, claimed that apart from harming their interests, the warehouse was coming up barely 30 meters from Shyama Prasad Mukherjee School, a landmark institution of Parsudih dating back to 1945, and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Inter College which came up in 1987.

“This is in violation of norms. The law prohibits sale of tobacco products and intoxicating drinks within 100 metres of any educational institute. Though this is not a retail outlet, loading of liquor cartons during school hours could lure them towards alcohol,” Dungri claimed.

Members of the sewa samiti, who had on May 2 submitted a petition with the president of the state agricultural marketing board, Sabita Mahto, have threatened to stage a dharna in front of KUBS if the decision to allot the warehouse wasn’t cancelled. They said they would also submit a memorandum to chief minister Hemant Soren.

Bazaar samiti secretary Ashok Sinha defended the decision, saying permission had been given to stock liquor at an unused godown outside campus. “Fully covered liquor consignments will be brought. There is no question of the students being affected,” he said, but clarified that they would abide by the district administration’s directive.

Refuting the allegation that traders’ rights had been trampled upon, Sinha said, “We had floated tenders for the facility and went ahead with our agreement with the beverages corporation only after getting no response from the traders. However, there is a clause in the agreement that if any trader evinces interest in using the space then that facility would be given to those in agricultural products.”