Addressing a press conference Sunday, members of the Swaraj Abhiyan attacked the AAP government for not acting in accordance with the promises they made to get elected.
Referring to data from an RTI filed by a volunteer, the panel comprising Abhiyan members Anupam, Ajeet Jha and Mukesh Gupta, said since AAP came to power last year, 58 alcohol vending shops had opened across different areas of the city. Of these shops, 21 are government-run shops and the rest are private. Referring to information in the RTI, Abhiyan members alleged that the revenue from sales of alcohol have doubled in the past one year.
Responding to these allegations, an AAP spokesperson said, “We do not wish to dignify allegations that are motivated by revenge with a comment.”
Anupam, national executive member of the Abhiyan, said Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had promised to reduce alcohol consumption and distribution in the city. “Point 61 of the AAP’s 70-point election manifesto clearly states that the government will actively work to reduce alcohol consumption and distribution in the state. The same promise is being made to the people of Punjab now. Considering the promises made by the government, these findings are shocking,” he said.
Members of the panel also alleged that the government’s prohibition department is mandated to spend money on advertisements that inform the public about the harmful affects of alcohol consumption and the need to reduce it. Anupam alleged that the volunteer who filed the RTI found that the department had spent Rs 7,76,000 on advertisements. “The department, in its response, said the volunteer is welcome to go through the records to see to what effect this money had been spent. However, the volunteer found the department had no record of the money being spent,” he said.
Members of the Abhiyan alleged that liquor shops had opened in several areas despite opposition from locals. They added that the RTI and their interaction with locals cast suspicion on whether the “AAP government is hand-in-glove with the liquor mafia”.