National Conference Wants J&K To Go Dry
28 January 2008
Times Of India
Srinagar: National Conference, Jammu and Kashmir's main opposition party, has sought a ban on liquor sale in the state, after government figures suggested that alcohol consumption has seen a steep increase in the Valley. The party has also taken exception to the government's decision in granting more licences for liquor sale. According to official figures, while Jammu province saw a decrease in alcohol consumption, the Valley, as against 3.85 lakh bottles during 2006- 07, consumed four lakh bottles in 2007-08. Beer consumption, too, has recorded a sharp rise from 1,65,000 bottles in 2006-07 to 4,00,000 in 2007-08. As against a sale of 191 lakh IMFL (Indian-made foreign liquor) bottles in 2006- 07, Jammu consumed 133 lakh bottles in 2007-08. 'Islam prohibits liquor consumption and as a devout Muslim and rightful human being, I plead for the ban on the liquor sale,' senior NC leader Ali Mohammad Sagar said. Majority of liquor outlets were closed in the Valley after terror groups imposed a ban on consumption of alcohol in the late 1980s. Many businessmen, who didn't comply with the ban were attacked and their shops destroyed. Even pubs inside top hotels and restaurants shut down their bars after the threats from terrorists. Only two licenced liquor outlets - one near Srinagar cantonment and another inside government-owned hotel Heemal - are currently authorised to sell liquor in the Valley.