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‘Wine not liquor, sale will benefit farmers’: Sanjay Raut defends Uddhav Thackeray govt’s decision to sell wines at supermarkets

"Wine is not liquor. If wine sale increases, farmers will get benefit from it. We've done this to double farmers' income," said the Shiv Sena MP.

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut Friday defended the Maha Vikas Aghadi government’s decision to allow the sale of wine at supermarkets and walk-in shops in Maharashtra by claiming the “wine is not liquor”.

Speaking in favour of the Uddhav Thackeray govt’s decision Sanjay Raut reportedly told news agency ANI that the decision has been taken to double the farmers’ income in the state. “Wine is not liquor. If wine sale increases, farmers will get benefit from it. We’ve done this to double farmers’ income,” said the Shiv Sena MP.

The Shiv Sena leader hit out at the opposition BJP for slamming the Uddhav Thackeray-led government’s decision. “BJP only opposes but does nothing for farmers,” Sanjay Raut said. He insisted that the decision of the state government is in the interest of the farmers as it would increase their income.

Sanjay Raut’s remark came in response to former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ criticism that the Shiv Sena-led coalition administration in Maharashtra is trying to turn the state into a “Madya-Rashtra (liquor state).”

“And now the sale of wine from supermarkets/Kirana shops! We won’t allow Maharashtra to become ‘Madya’Rashtra, Fadnavis wrote on Twitter. He was surprised that Maharashtra’s Maha Vikas Aghadi administration had closed schools and colleges, as well as religious sites such as temples, in order to limit the pandemic, but had allowed liquor shops to remain open.

Maharashtra govt led by Uddhav Thackeray allows sale of wine at grocery shops and supermarkets

It may be noted that the Maharashtra cabinet stated on Thursday that wine will be available in every supermarket in the state. According to the new liquor regulation, wine bottles will be sold in grocery stores and department stores throughout the state. Previously, only liquor stores were permitted to sell wine.

The “shelf-in-shop” method can be used by supermarkets and businesses that have 1,000 square feet of space or more and are registered under the Maharashtra Shops and Establishments Act, according to a statement released by the Chief Minister’s Office.

The maximum shelf size allowed in stores would be 2.25 cubic metres, and the annual licence price will be Rs 5000.

In December 2021, the All India Wine Producers’ Association (AIWPA) had requested that wines be sold at grocery stores to make them more accessible. For the past 20 years, Maharashtra, the origin of the country’s wine industry, has provided wine with an excise exemption to aid the budding industry’s growth. However, in the meeting held on Thursday, the state’s cabinet decided to impose a minimal excise levy of Rs 10/litre on bulk wine.

‘Why open bars and keep temples shut’: Anna Hazare questions Maharashtra govt

Interestingly, the Maharashtra government in its Covid-induced restrictions last year had allowed bars and pubs to remain open in the state while temples remained closed. Anna Hazare, the social activist, had then raised questions over the Maharashtra government’s orders and offered his support if devotees hold protests to lift curbs on the temples in the state.

In his statement, Hazare added that the government seems fine with the big queues outside liquor shops in the state, but they are not okay with reopening the temples. Reportedly, he met a delegation of people demanding the reopening of the temples across the state.

BJP staged protests to reopen temples

On August 30 2021, Chandrakant Patil, state chief BJP, held a ‘shankhnad andolan’ and sought the reopening of temples for the public. Protests were held by the party workers outside temples across the state in cities including Mumbai, Nashik, Pune, Nagpur and Solapur. The party workers marched towards the temples blowing conch shells. Patil said, “The shankhanad is necessary to wake up the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, which is in deep slumber. Pleas demanding the reopening of temples have gone unheard for the past 15 months.”

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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