New Delhi: Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Tuesday said the Delhi government has no plan to ban liquor in the city even as he maintained that the AAP dispensation does not want to run the city administration with money collected from sale of alcohol in the national capital.
The Deputy Chief Minister, who was responding to a question of AAP MLA Pankaj Pushkar from Timarpur in the Assembly, accused the Opposition of spreading "misleading" figures on the number of liquor shops in the city to "deceive" the public.
Sisodia's statement comes at a time when there is a controversy over rise in liquor shops in Delhi. The Deputy CM said in many areas, liquor vends have been closed after complaint from public and soon Mohalla Sabhas will take a call on existence of liquor shops.
"There is an attempt to create an environment that we are the liquor mafia. We ended corruption in distribution of licence for liquor vends and that is why we are being targeted. We have shifted liquor shops to mall as they have arrangement to deal with anti-social elements," he said.
Sisodia claimed only six retail vends have come up in the city and the number of other licenced establishments serving alcohol has actually gone down since the AAP assumed office.
"I fail to understand how six new retail shops have contributed towards doubling the revenue collection? A section is deliberately misleading and trying to create a wrong perception. It is almost like we have turned into liquor mafia but no one is noticing how many Ponty Chadhas we have put out of business," he said.
"Delhi will become the first place where locals will decide the location of liquor vends. We have ended the inspector raj and corruption in excise department. Now, an officer's job is to stop corruption and don't think about liquor vends.
"Earlier, politicians or their relatives used to own liquor shops, now in our government no MLA supports opening of vend in his or her area," Sisodia said.
The government had recently notified 2,972 mohalla sabhas where registered voters will be able to take a call through voting on basic or urgent development works and monitor progress. There are over 460 liquor shops in residential neighbourhoods.
The development comes amid a campaign by the Swaraj Abhiyan, led by former AAP leaders Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, against "proliferation" of liquor vends in the city.
Quoting an RTI reply from Delhi government's excise department, the group has claimed that 58 liquor vends had come up in the city since last February.