Alcohol, in cheap plastic sachets, is being sold openly at various places in the city, and presumably across the state, despite Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s firm assurance during the monsoon session of the state legislative assembly that its sale would be banned. This Herald reporter visited some liquor stores and surprisingly found that these sachets are readily available for purchase, and are mostly preferred by labourers and students who are minors. Parrikar, in August, had assured that sale of liquor sachets would be banned as it was creating a bad influence on school students.
“I am aware of the problem. The government will ban sale of liquor sold in sachets. They are so easily available like shampoo sachets. We will stop this practice,” the chief minister was quoted as saying while responding to apprehensions raised by some legislators.
The plastic sachets of 90 ml each, until a couple of months back were being sold at Rs 5, which rose to Rs 6 and the present rate of each sachet is Rs 7.50.
“Government has increased taxes on alcohol.
Earlier these packets were sold much cheaper than at present. But we still have buyers…” said a retailer in the Panjim market.
The sachets sporting big brand names are neatly packed with their bright and fruity colours, some of which claim to have been given flavours of fruits. The availability was mainly for the poor class who cannot afford higher priced alcohol, but reports of school children sipping the sachets raised apprehensions among concerned people.
“We cannot identify who are students or adults. If a student comes in plain clothes, how can we identify them? Secondly, there is a possibility the students use adults to buy these sachets,” another liquor seller said.
The production continues with government yet to take a stern decision. “The production should be stopped. We are just sellers,” said another retailer.
The Excise Department, when approached, informed that a proposal has already been moved to the government banning the sale of sachet liquors in the State, based on the latter’s assurance. The proposal is currently with the Law Department which said a notification will be issued shortly. [H]