In a new interview, Punjab CM Captain Amrinder Singh has, once again, questioned the Centre's decision to ban sale of liquor during the lockdown, which was extended till May 3. Despite many efforts of the state chief minister, the approval to resume sales of alcohol in Punjab wasn't approved - even in a phased manner.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has enforced a strict ban on the sale of alcohol, gutka and tobacco under the updated guidelines of the lockdown. The MHA justified its decision saying the sale of non-essential commodities during the lockdown will only cause a violation.
Comparing liquor to fruits, vegetables
In a snippet of the video interview of the Punjab CM with a TV channel, the minister said that when fruits and vegetables can be allowed during the lockdown, why not bottled liquor. Watch the video below:
Liquor ban affecting state revenue
CM Singh has also raised concerns that the ban on liquor sales in the state is affecting the revenue. Lifting the ban will mobilize excise revenue. The sale of liquor in the state contributes heavily to the revenue. According to reports, Punjab earns close to Rs 6,000 crore from the liquor sales int he state.
The CM has also demanded an interim compensation of Rs 3,000 crore for the month of April due to the COVID-19 national disaster. The minister also wrote to Home Minister Amit Shah to clear the state's GST arrears of Rs 4,400 crore for the last four months in order to reduce the revenue gap.