Hyderabad, Oct 4 (UNI) Lok Satta president Jayaprakash Narayan today welcomed the Andhra Pradesh Government's decision to close down 'belt shops,' ''realising, though belatedly'' that unrestricted consumption of liquor was gaining popularity among the poor and in some cases driving them to suicide.
Addressing a press conference here, he said the government's direction to crack down on illicit arrack shops vindicated his party's contention that unrestrained liquor consumption had ruined the lives of 70 lakh families in the state.
Lok Satta activists would initiate steps from October 11 to identify ''belt shops'' (unauthorised liquor outlets attached to a licensed liquor shop) in every village to force exise officials to take action against them.
He also urged leaders of all parties to take a vow to stop distribution of lquor on the eve of elections to influence the voters.
A survey conducted by the Lok Satta showed that there were more than 15,000 ''belt shops'' in the state and even the home constituencies of Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy and Leader of Opposition N Chandrababu Naidu were no exception, he claimed.
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