The Haryana urban development authority (Huda) has refused to grant approval to liquor shops in greenbelts and has decided to cancel the licence of liquor shops located in areas not allowed by law.
There are 246 liquor vends in Gurgaon. According to the rules, they cannot be allowed to operate in greenbelts, on pavements, near educational institutions, places of worship or residential areas.
On receiving fresh applications for 11 new liquor shops in Gurgaon, Huda officials objected to three sites stating that the locations did not meet the criteria and could not be allowed to operate.
Vivek Kalia, estate officer 2, Huda, said, “We have received complaints from several activists and residents about existing liquor shops that are a problem for pedestrians, women, elderly and for residential localities. That is why we rejected these three locations (in the greenbelts) after site inspections. Huda has clearly specified areas where liquor shops are allowed to operate, but most of contractors flout the rules. We have to be very strict in this regard. Such shops can only be opened in commercial shopping areas designated by the Huda or another competent authority.”
Every year, Huda receives applications for liquor shops from private contractors who have obtained licences from the district excise department. The excise department too can take action against liquor shops if found to be operating near schools, religious sites and residential areas.
Residents, though, paint a different picture on the ground.
“I can name liquor shops in greenbelts and very close to residential localities along Golf Course Road and other areas. Liquor shops are run by a mafia and are a major problem,” said Abhey Poonia of Suncity.
Kamal Wadhawa, of DLF Phase 3, said, “There is a liquor shop very close to residential areas and in close proximity of a religious site. Four years ago the site was earmarked for some other purpose, but we don’t know how a liquor shop was suddenly allowed.”
Excise officials said Huda can examine the greenbelt aspect while granting permission.
“We will take action against shops if we receive complaints in this regard. However, we want to make it clear that the excise department does not submit a list of sites for liquor shops to Huda,” said a senior excise official.