By Ajit Chak: The members of the AAP often mention the world liquor mafia when they mention certain states. If they are keen to weed out liquor mafia they should first weed out the government control over liquor. Sources say when a liquor mafia takes over a state the first thing he does is that he hikes the prices of liquor as he has a monopoly on the sales of liquor in the state. Take the case of Bihar there was no doubt some liquor mafia were operating there as the state used to have very high priced liquor. Take the case of Uttar Pradesh, a bottle of rum will cost the double the amount in Lucknow that it will in Chandigarh or Ludhiana. Uttarakhand where Ponty Chadha was shot dead in a faction fight between two groups is another state where liquor is frightfully expensive. On the other hand there is liquor in Haryana or Punjab which is frightfully cheap in comparison.
There are two reasons for this. One there are forces like the state excise department which levies a huge tax on each and every bottle and then there is a mafia who hikes the rates as much as he can so that he can take home the maximum profits as the business of selling liquor has been made into a monopoly by a network of laws that make countries like India unique. In Uttar Pradesh there was a time that a Maximum Retail Price used to be printed on each bottle sold and the bottle was sold above the MRP. This, local residents say was done at the behest of a powerful minister who wanted a commission on each bottle sold in the state.. In Singapore and in most nations the government has nothing to do with the sale of liquor which can be sold from any grocery shop or by any manufacturers’ outlet. Maybe we need to do the same. This will put an end to corruption in the name of liquor.