Deccan Chronicle

Gurumurthy Lane residents cast vote against wine shop


Over 95 per cent of citizens who cast their votes in a referendum held at Begumpet were against having a liquor outlet and an attached permit room in their area on Saturday.

Residents of Gurumurthy Lane at Begumpet voted in the referendum. The liquor shop in question is at the beginning of the lane, and many residents had complained about its location.

Out of the 1,479 votes polled, 1,415 citizens (95.67 per cent) did not support wine shops in the area, while 53 voters (3.58 per cent) supported it.

The referendum was conducted by Hakku Initiative, who conducted a similar exercise in Bhoiguda in December 2021, after which a permit room was disallowed to continue.

Many procedures which are followed in an official election were replicated here too.

Two ballot boxes were stationed at Diya Pre-School and Satya Krishna Apartments while three ballot boxes were mobile to assist voters who could not make it to polling booths. Voters needed to show proof of their residence in the area as well as a government photo ID, and a secret ballot system was followed. Polling was carried out from 7 am to 8 pm.

Residents had complained of the wine shop citing safety issues, especially for women and children. D.S. Ramakrishn­a, secretary of the local residents’ welfare associatio­n, said many customers smoked in the permit room and urinated on the street, and their vehicles were parked along the road, creating a nuisance.

The residents approached police officials, including the commission­er, to intervene in the matter but to no avail.

They then approached the Hakku Initiative to carry out the referendum.

Hakku Initiative, Hyderabad, is part of the Institute of Perception Studies, New Delhi. The institute’s director Dr Kota Neelima filed a PIL in the Telangana High Court seeking a change in policy concerning location of wine stores.

“In case residents hold a referendum and vote against the store, there should be a provision to relocate the store,” she said. She added that the results of the referendum would now be submitted to local public representa­tives.

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