Protests erupt against licensed liquor vends in Ghaziabad
Residents staged massive protests outside the vend selling countrymade liquor and beer in Daulatpura. The protesters, including women, were vociferous against the liquor sale, which they say is close to their residential locality that houses nearly 15,000 people.noida Updated: Apr 05, 2017 22:02 IST
Hundreds of protesting locals on Wednesday hindered smooth operations of a liquor vend on GT Road and shut a liquor vend in Lohiya Nagar.
The protests followed on the heels of the Supreme Court ban on the sale of liquor within 500 metres of national and state highways from April 1.
Residents staged massive protests outside the vend selling countrymade liquor and beer in Daulatpura. The protesters, including women, were vociferous against the liquor sale, which they say is close to their residential locality that houses nearly 15,000 people.
“The shop is in close vicinity to a temple and railway tracks. There are also two government-run schools in close proximity. Women often face abuse from drunkards, who purchase liquor and start drinking on roads and vacant plots in the area. We have demanded the immediate closure of the shop,” Titu Kumar, a protester from Daulatpura locality, said.
Vijay Kumar Gupta of Daulatpura, who runs a snacks bar at the shop, said he has also closed down his eatery in support of the protest carried out by his neighbours.
“I closed the eatery as my neighbours are supporting the protest and want the liquor shop shut. It has been in place for the last two decades but the problems for locals are growing as customers often create a ruckus and roam the area in an inebriated state. Women also face issues due to this,” he said.
“So far, the protest has remained peaceful and there has been no incident such as pelting of stones or setting the liquor shop afire. We fear that if the shop is not closed down, such an incident may take place,” Gupta said.
Residents said that their protest has been going on for the last three days and will continue till the shop is permanently closed. Later in the afternoon, the police also arrived at the protest site to pacify the protesters and assured them that senior officials will look into their demands.
However, officials of the excise department said that protests were uncalled for as the shop was issued the licence as per norms.
“The shop is following the norms. If residents continue to disrupt operations, the police and administration should intervene and ensure that the licenced facility runs smoothly. Some disruptions were also reported at a model shop in Lohiya Nagar and the facility was shut for the day,” Karunendra Singh, district excise officer, said.
There have been violent protests in other parts of the state since the Supreme Court ban came into force on April 1. Liquor vends in several areas including Hapur, Bulandshahr, Agra, Firozabad and Bareilly, have been vandalised by anti-alcohol groups.