Liquor shops in residential areas of Bhopal have always sparked protests from locals, particularly from women, who say such outlets have become havens for the criminals.
Kalpana Nagar area near Piplani in the state capital, which has more than 70 residential houses, is witnessing such a protest since April 17. The women are holding sit-ins outside the building where the shop will come up.
A protestor Madhuri Jain told Hindustan Times on Sunday, “A liquor shop in a residential area creates problems, as the incidents like eve-teasing and brawls occur because criminals gather around it. So, we will continue to protest against its opening in our locality.” She said, “But for giving assurances, the administration has not paid any heed to their complaints.”
Jain said, “The authorities have just assured us that the liquor shop would not open here. But they did not give anything in writing. State finance minister Jayant Malaiya has assured us that the liquor shop will be shifted to another place but we will stick to our protest till it is shifted.”
Another protestor, Rajni Pawar, told HT, “If needed, we will write a letter to chief minister of Bihar Nitish Kumar seeking his help to stop the liquor shop from coming up.”
However, protests against liquor shops in various areas has so far come naught.
The residents of Nehru Nagar told HT, “A liquor shop in the area ruined its peaceful environment. The shop at the basement of a residential complex has turned into a den of criminals who often indulge in brawls and hurl abuses at those who pass by the shop. The woman cannot go out of their houses after 6pm.”
Another resident of Nehru Nagar area on condition of anonymity said locals staged a protest against a liquor shop for about six/seven months but the administration did not take any action against the liquor shop owner.
In Ratibad locality, too, protests against a liquor shop went in vain.
“After the liquor shop came up, the incidents of eve teasing shot up as the shop has become a criminals’ haven. They consume liquor and create nuisance,” said Bankelal Kushwaha, a resident of the area.
“We made complaints to the authorities but no action was taken. Even the police don’t pay any heed to our complaints. As a result, most the apartment owners in this residential complex have shifted to another place renting out their rooms,” he said.
However, the excise department said there are no regulations regarding opening of a liquor shop in residential areas.
DR Johari, additional commissioner, excise department (Bhopal), said, “There are no norms and regulations regarding opening of liquor shops in residential areas. Though I am not aware of the protests by the residents, I can say that many people who consume liquor don’t want a shop in their locality.”