VIJAYAWADA: Chief Minister Jagan said on Monday that the Telugu Desam is engaged in a false propaganda over what were some normal deaths in Jangareddygudem in recent days.
The TD is politicizing these deaths. "The YSR Congress never promoted illicit liquor and rather discouraged liquor consumption under a phase-wise ban on liquor to ensure good health for the people."
Before the commencement of the general discussion on the AP Budget in the assembly, the chief minister said the population of Jangareddygudem was 48,994 as per the 2011 census. "Considering a likely 12 per cent growth during this decade, it could now be 54,880. Some deaths have occurred in recent days, but not all the deaths occurred in the same place."
He said among this large population, 18 deaths have been registered in the municipality in recent days. "The normal death rate is 2 per cent across the country. Even in our state, this is so. This means at least 90 people die naturally due to illness, old age, or accidents per month. But, the TD has been distorting facts and politicising what are simply natural deaths."
The CM asked, "Why would the state government support hooch trade? Country-liquor in the state is not new. It was there during the TD term and it is still around. This was why we set up a special police force called the Special Enforcement Bureau (SEB)."
He said orders were given to the police to take strong steps to check illicit liquor brewing and trade. "The aim of the government is to reduce consumption of alcohol. We have closed 43,000 belt shops after coming to power. There used to be 4,380 alcohol shops with permit rooms allowing 50-60 people to drink in those rooms."
The state government, he said, abolished permit rooms after it came to power.
Jagan said liquor was available everywhere through belt shops during the TD term. "The YSRC government has taken over the liquor shops. These shops are being closed at fixed times. Liquor used to be sold till midnight or 1am during the time of the TD government."
He said the consumption of alcohol has come down due to the rate hike effected by the present government. "The high cost of alcohol has led to an increase in illicit liquor flow. Based on the recommendations of SEB and the opposition parties, the rates were again reduced," he said and asked why consumption of illicit liquor would increase even after the prices of alcohol were reduced.
The chief minister asserted that the government is against illicit liquor. Orders were given to SEB to curb it. "More than 13,000 cases were registered against those involved in illicit liquor. Still, TD leaders are politicizing things and natural deaths are described as hooch deaths in Jangareddygudem, the CM said.