The Delhi government is planning to bring down the legal age for consumption of beer and wine from the existing 25 to 21 years, according to the official spokesman. However, “the proposal was sent by the excise department to the Delhi government last week,” the official told thestatesman.com.
The official said, “How does it matter whether legal age is 25 or 21 years. Just cross the bridge and you reach Uttar Pradesh and there you can buy the liquor from there as legal drinking age in Uttar Pradesh is 18 years.”
A similar proposal was tabled by the excise department during the Congress regime, but it was rejected after facing a sharp criticism from their own cabinet members and opposition.
Another Delhi government official, requesting anonymity, said, “Age is nowhere a problem for drinkers. Lowering age will ensure on illegal drinking that take place occasionally.” He said that increase in age also gave chance to increase the corruption indulged by alcohol shop owner.
It, however, will be not easy for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government to get the proposal cleared inside the house, following public sentiments, and from opposition parties, the BJP and the Congress, outside the house.
The residents’ opinion on it, however, varied. “We cannot say that drinking enhances crime. There is no proof that in those state where liquor is banned crime rate is zero,” a professional said.
Currently five states, including Gujarat, Lakshadweep, Manipur, have banned liquor sale.
Anjali , a college goer in Delhi, however, cautioned the government and said, “Overall I had no problem with the government decision to reduce the age bar, as many boys of our class consume liquor. All I want to request the government is that there is a need to ensure safety of women and stop those drunkards from creating problems.”
Rekha, a mother of two, said, “I do not think it&’s a positive step.” She said, “We cannot close our eyed on the present condition of safety and security of women in Delhi. The government should accept any such proposal.”
Whatever be the government&’s move, Delhi has many moods to deal with.