22/12/2015 10:43 AM IST | Updated 29/08/2016 7:49 PM IST

Booze Is Not An Intoxicant, Says Punjab Health Minister After Inaugurating De-Addiction Centre

NARINDER NANU via Getty Images
Indian Punjab state Health and Family Welfare Minister Surjit Kumar Jyani addresses journalists at Circuit House in Amritsar on January 20, 2014. Jyani visited the city to attend a meeting with health department officials to improve health facilities available in the state. AFP PHOTO/NARINDER NANU (Photo credit should read NARINDER NANU/AFP/Getty Images)

CHANDIGARH -- Bizzare it may sound but Punjab Health Minister Surjit Kumar Jyani does not consider 'sharab' (booze) an intoxicant.

"I don't think 'sharab' (booze) is an intoxicant. You cannot call alcohol an intoxicant. It is (consumed) there in the army, parties.

"The government gives licences for manufacturing liquor, we auction liquor vends. As long as it is done, sharab cannot be called 'nasha' (intoxicant)," Jyani told journalists during an interaction after inaugurating a de-addiction centre in his constituency Badal.

Incidentally, Punjab has been facing a problem of drug addiction, which once prompted Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi to claim 7 out of every 10 youth in the state were addicts.

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