If you are one of those who enjoy gulping down a bottle of chilled beer right outside the liquor vend on a scorching summer afternoon, you better be careful.
Your act will not only be watched from inside the liquor shop and recorded on a video camera, the staff at the liquor shop may even inform the enforcement team of the excise department and you may be fined.
The excise department has made it mandatory for liquor shops to install closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) outside their shops. The cameras, said excise officials, should cover at least 50-metre area on all sides of the liquor shop. The shop owner will have to keep the feed of 30 days in its record.
“We will renew the liquor shop licence or grant a new licence only when the applicant has installed the CCTV cameras,” said a senior excise official.
Excise officials said the installation has been made mandatory following recent orders received from lieutenant governor Tejendra Khanna’s office. With roadside hawkers also setting up their shops selling eatables close to the liquor vends in the evening, officials said a number of vends turn like bars in the evening.
“The L-G was perturbed with a number of complaints he gets every day from various localities about liquor vends that turn into open bars by the evening. It becomes especially tough for women, as drunkards often pass lewd comments on them. The L-G recently held a meeting with various stakeholders and made it mandatory for liquor shops to install CCTV cameras,” said Ranjan Mukherjee, officer on special duty to the L-G.
There are about 450 shops, both government-run and private, selling beer and hard liquor in Delhi.
The Delhi Excise Act makes open drinking a serious violation and envisages a fine and imprisonment.
Officials accept that violations are still rampant. “People buy eatables from these vendors and start drinking right outside the liquor shops. Installation of cameras will help curb such incidents,” an official said.
Before starting sales for the day, the manager of the liquor vend will have to ensure that the CCTV system is in proper working condition and in case any defect is noticed, immediate action to get it rectified is taken.