HC says no to Anna`s PIL on liquor production from foodgrains
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Last Updated: Thursday, May 05, 2011, 16:10
Nagpur: The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court here has refused to hear a PIL filed by anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare against the Maharashtra government for using foodgrains to manufacture liquor.

Justice S B Deshmukh at the division bench led by Justice Sharad Bobde cited 'not before me' as the reason of not hearing the plea.

The PIL which came up yesterday, will now be listed before another division bench most probably after the summer vacation.

The petitioners also including renowned social workers Dr Abhay and Rani Bang, Dr Prakash Amte, Dr Narendra Dabholkar, Dr Anil Awchat, Hiraman Wankhede and Sachin Tiwale moved the court over the government's decision to issue licenses to the wards of influential politicians to produce alcohol from foodgrains.

They questioned the decision of the Congress-led Democratic Front (DF) government to offer grants to projects involved in production of alcohol.

The PIL alleged that Amit Deshmukh, son of Union Rural Development Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh along with Pratapsinh Patil, BJP leader Gopinath Munde's daughter Shweta Palwe, NCP leader Govindrao Adik, and former state Health minister Vimal Mundada are directly or indirectly engaged in making alcohol from foodgrains.

All of them were made respondents in the case along with the government and the State Excise Department Commissioner.

The other respondents included Yashraj Ethanol Procession, Mallikarjun Distilleries, Shahapur Distilleries, Grainotch Industries, Radico NV Distilleries, Vitthal Distilleries, Adlars Bio-energy, Jogeshwari Beverages, Pranav Agrotech, Victoria Agro Food Processing, Alco Plus Producers and Pionium Industries.

The government had promised to review the policy, but later granted licences and grants to politicians or their sons, the PIL said.

Last year, a similar PIL filed by social worker Chetan Kamble was dismissed by the Bombay High Court. Following this, 15 factories began producing liquor from foodgrains.

The concept was introduced by the government with a view to ensure development of the backward regions of Vidarbha and Marathwada. The government's view was that alcohol production from jowar will offer higher prices to farmers and boost production. In other countries, there is a huge demand for liquor from foodgrains.

After citing this example, the government approved the proposal for foodgrain-based alcohol production despite stiff opposition from the planning and finance departments, the High Court was told.


First Published: Thursday, May 05, 2011, 16:10

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