The state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) again made its opposition to the introduction of a central bonded warehouse (CBW) in Meghalaya clear today, saying such a body would only allow a few people to “monopolise” the liquor business.
In a press release, BJP state Vice-President, Bernard N Marak, said that the introduction of a CBW for alcohol distribution would lead to corruption like in the coal business, where allegations of impropriety have hit the headlines recently.
The setting up of a CBW had been agreed in a cabinet meeting last month. The BJP has one member in the cabinet. The government had said that a CBW will allow existing bonded warehouses to make their purchases more easily from within Meghalaya itself rather than having to place orders with a multitude of producers.
Marak claimed that the cabinet decision was made without following legal procedures because such a change in existing practices should have been taken to the Assembly first.
“Cabinet is making a hasty move to introduce this as the profit they (ministers) can individually make is unimaginable while the state will lose a huge amount of revenue,” Marak stated. “The decision was taken in the Cabinet without following the legal procedure. Few ministers want to control the supply of liquor just like coal by amending an existing excise law without taking it to the floor of the house.”
He warned that any change to existing laws will prompt the party to “reveal the actual masterminds” behind the CBW idea. He also called the continuing hike of 25 percent on the price of liquor, introduced due to the financial pressures brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic earlier in the year, as “unjustified”.
“People should be aware of all the monopoly plans of few money minded ministers which will destroy the state in the long run,” Marak concluded.