The opposition TDP which attacked Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy over the issue of cheap and fake booze has now launched an exclusive website highlighting ‘alleged illicit brands and alcoholic deaths’ occurring in the state.
The website www.killerjbrands.com, where J refers to Jagan according to TDP leaders, also invites people to file grievances of alcohol-related deaths. The website claims that there are 70 local liquor brands in PA and that 5,000 deaths have been caused by heavy drinking.
The PA Assembly budget session, which ended last week, was rocked by protests from TDP lawmakers over the 25 bizarre deaths in Jangareddygudem, West Godavari district, allegedly caused by illicit alcohol consumption.
Alleging that “Jagan’s alcohol mafia is destroying families in the PA”, TDP leaders said they would escalate the war on toxic brands. “Now is the time for relentless grassroots agitation to save vulnerable sections of the ruling YSRCP’s dangerous liquor brands.”
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“CM Jagan has remained unmoved as families are crushed by the threat of alcohol in the state. The manufacture and sale of ‘dangerous liquor brands’ remains high despite mounting criticism,” said former TDP Minister Nakka Ananda Babu during the launch of the website on Saturday with TDP MLC Paruchuri Ashok Babu.
TDP leaders have alleged that all liquor companies are under the control of the Chief Minister. “While the CM profits from liquor companies, its party leaders easily make money selling illicit alcohol. The poor buy illicit alcohol because they are unable to bear the exorbitant costs of cheap booze from J brands,” they said.
Speaking during a discussion of alcohol policy in the state assembly on Wednesday, Chief Minister Reddy dismissed opposition claims, saying “his government has only given the permission for any new distillery or brewery since he came to power in 2019”.
The CM further said that alcohol prices had been raised “to deter the poor from drinking” and that his government had taken over alcohol retail through the AP State Beverages Corporation.
We have also reduced the number of liquor stores from 4,380 to 2,934, the CM said while clarifying that “no changes have been made to the liquor manufacturing policy.”
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