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HindustanTimes Wed,27 Aug 2014

Liquor vends on green belts flout norms

Charumathi Sankaran, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 20, 2013
First Published: 21:53 IST(20/8/2013) | Last Updated: 00:29 IST(21/8/2013)

Despite a blanket ban by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the green belts at key junctions in the city are dotted with liquor vends.

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The operators of these liquor shops say they are unaware of any such norm and have never faced a problem in getting licences to set shop at these locations.

The city is home to more than 300 liquor vends, most of which are located near green belts at key junctions such as Subhash Chowk, Rajiv Chowk, Iffco Chowk, Huda City Centre Metro station and MG Road.

In January, the Gurgaon residents had launched an online campaign to remove liquor vends from the green belts and key junctions of the city.

“There is no clarity on how the vends get licences in the green belts, violating the norms stated by the courts,” said Kishore Asthana, a member of citizen group I am Gurgaon.

Residents say that though liquor vends are a common sight in Gurgaon, their location on the green belt is most surprising.

“The liquor vends are allotted spots on a contractual basis. They should clearly be located in commercial places. It is an obvious violation that they are allowed to set shop in public areas, including near schools,” said Bhawani Shankar Tripathi, secretary general, Mission Gurgaon Development.

Asked about the action taken on the removal of liquor shops, Huda horticulture department executive engineer VK Nirala said, “We have notified the estate officers of the liquor shops located in green belts. We have also repeatedly sent them reminders in this regard, including a few this month. We are aware of the violations on the green belts.”

Meanwhile, the operators of the liquor vends say they are not aware that they are violating the green norms. “We have 32 outlets at various such junctions in Gurgaon and have never been told by the excise department or any other authority about any such violation,” said the operator of Discovery Wines.

“This outlet is around eight years old. We obtained the licence from the authorities and no one asked us to move from this spot,” said an employee of Pratap wine company, which has a liquor shop on a green belt near Rajiv Chowk.


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