Water Supply and Drainage Minister Dinesh Gunawardena yesterday said that it was totally unethical to issue a liquor licence to anyone to open a liquor shop near either a university or a school.
He said that as the Chairman of the Maharagama Development Committee, he would never allow anyone to open a liquor shop in Maharagama. But the Divisional Secretary and some excise officials had issued a liquor licence to a person who had opened a liquor shop at the Wijayarama Junction, Maharagama, a town with many Buddhists. He had never given approval to anyone to open liquor shops in Maharagama.
Minister Gunawardena added that he would be asking the relevant authorities to immediately cancel that liquor licence because it was a disgrace to the people of Maharagama.
Ven. Nikkapotha Chandrajothi Thera said that instead of closing liquor shops some officials, especially excise officials, were bent on earning money by issuing liquor licences to businessmen. That practice had to end immediately, he said.
Excise Commissioner General Wasantha Hapuarchchi, contacted for comment, said that the licence was about to be issued to open a new liquor shop. Minister Dinesh Gunawardena had objected to it. Therefor, the Excise Department had not issued the licence.