Jaipur, March 20: Jaipur’s Rozada village on Sunday opted to shut down the only liquor shop and made it second panchayat in Rajasthan to become alcohol-free. Notably, 93% of the voters of the village opted in favour for the closure of liquor shop in an election.
In the voting that went on from 8 am Sunday morning till 5 pm, 2,581 people cast their votes. While 2,270 nearly 93% opted to shut down the liquor shop, 170 villagers voted against the closure and 141 votes were rejected. However, the polling was held whether the liquor shop should be shut down or allowed to function and was conducted under the sub-divisional magistrate’s supervision. The polling just looked like a proper panchayat election with long queues before the voting station.
The polling is the culmination of a 363-day anti-liquor campaign conducted by the villagers, who are trying their best to close down the only existing alcohol vend with the help of the organization Sharab Sangharsh Samiti.
The Samiti’s spokesperson Uttam Kumar Sharma said, “Our team has sensitised the villagers and convinced the administration to shut down the shop here,” Meanwhile, Tehsildar of Amber Tehsil (to which Rozada belongs) who acted as the returning officer for the polling said the large turnout at the village could prompt other villages to close down liquor shops in their areas.
Notably, the polling was held according to Rajasthan Excise Rules 1975 which authorises the panchayat to enforce prohibition or close down liquor shops if 51% of the villagers vote for it. “If 20% voters demand the closure of a liquor shop in their area, the demand will be verified at the appropriate level and the proposal will be put to vote. If there are 51% votes in favour of the resolution, a provision will be made for the closure of the shop from the next financial year,” the rules state.
Interestingly, In March 2016, Kachchbali Gram Panchayat in tribal-dominated Rajsamand district became the first village in Rajasthan to vote overwhelmingly to shut down its only liquor shop.