Raj Thackeray has written an open letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister and his cousin
Uddhav Thackeray urging him to allow wine shops to remain open amid the
lockdown to compensate for the losses faced by the state on the economic front.
In the letter, Thackeray also said that small restaurants, canteens shall be allowed to function as they have been closed for the last 35 days and closure is a huge loss not only to the hotel industry but also to their employees.
“How long will this lockdown phase keep getting extended cannot be ascertained. In such times, by the opening of wine shops, the state will start getting a bit of revenue flow. There is no harm in keeping this option open. By keeping the wine shop open, doesn’t mean we are trying to cater to the needs or looking after the alcohol consumers. The only reason behind this is to start the process of income flow into the shrinking revenue of our state, ” Thackeray said.
The MNS chief further said that the excise duty that is generated for the state via liquor duty comes to about Rs 41.66 crore daily, Rs 1250 crore monthly, and Rs 14000 crore annually. “Keeping the lockdown phase of nearly 35 days in mind and the extensions that might happen; one can take into consideration the loss of revenue from this sector and the loss that might happen in future too.”
Thackeray also urged the government not to get caught up in some moral issues at such a crucial time and take the necessary decision. “It’s not that there was a liquor ban in our state and we are asking to remove that ban. Prior to the lockdown, the wine shops were open.”
Speaking about keeping the restaurants and hotels open, Raj Thackeray said, “Restaurants are a necessity. There are so many low-budget, small restaurants, canteens. wherein one has access to the affordable and humble ‘rice plate’. It is imperative that such outlets and restaurants be allowed to function.”
He also pointed out that the government needs to think about the homes which are not equipped with cooking staff and many homes would not even have the necessary supplies and requirements needed for cooking.
“The other essential commodity services like vegetables, fruits, milk, bakery, and general stores need to start functioning,” wrote Raj, adding, “They are open and available in some areas but there is a lack of organised coordination. By starting the functioning of these services and organising them better, the state needs to activate and energise its economic cycle.
“To face this corona pandemic, the citizens will cooperate but the government too needs to ensure a decent and liveable life to its citizens in return.”
“Let’s face reality and find solutions soon,” he wrote.