The Punjab excise department on Saturday said liquor will not be allowed at wedding functions and other occasions at marriage palaces and resorts falling within 500 metres of state and national highways for want of clarity on “marriage palaces” in the apex court order.
In SAS Nagar district, there are around 100 marriage palaces, with majority of them located along the highways.
There is no mention of marriage palaces in the court order.
Punjab additional excise and taxation commissioner Gurtej Singh said, “We will get clarity on the issue whether the order is applicable on marriage palaces. We are only assuming that liquor will not be allowed. But we want clarity before taking any decision on this.”
Owners of city hotels, bars, restaurants and marriage palaces said the decision will hit their business hard besides causing a loss of jobs for those working in the hospitality industry.
Some marriage palace owners said they are getting calls for cancellation of bookings for the coming months.
Rajiv Chhabra, owner of AKM Resorts, Zirakpur, said, “While some resorts are located along inner roads, majority of them are on the highways. I have received calls from my clients whether liquor will be served at wedding functions at my marriage palace or not.”
Sunil Magoo, a resident of Kharar, said “We had booked a marriage palace for family wedding on April 18 and have made advance payment. But now, we will have to shift the venue somewhere else.”
Avtar Singh of Phase 7, SAS Nagar, has been frantically calling marriage palace managers and excise officials to know whether liquor will be served at his son’s wedding on Sunday.
Darshan Singh, another SAS Nagar resident, said, “We had booked a marriage palace for April 5 about two months back and paid the liquor licence fee. The court order has left us in the lurch.”
“This will adversely hit our business and the state exchequer. This will affect the livelihood of many. It is a discriminatory order.”
Sukhdev Singh Sidhu, president, Punjab Marriage Palace/Resort Association
“We do not procure or sell liquor. I don’t think marriage palaces should be covered under this. We just hold have family functions.”
Raman Khanna, owner, Tulip Garden, Saneta
“The government should actually check drink-driving instead of banning serving of liquor at marriage palaces and resorts.”
Ravdeep Singh Sandhu, owner, Sydney Heights, Landran
“We have procured the change of land use (CLU) and sold our properties to set up business. Where do we go now?”
Jaswinder Singh, owner, Dreamland Resorts, Landran