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783 Haryana panchayats pass resolution for closure of liquor vends

By Sunil Rahar | Hindustan Times, Chandigarh, Rohtak
UPDATED ON JAN 15, 2020 11:04 PM IST

As many as 783 panchayats in Haryana have passed resolution seeking closure of liquor vends in their villages as soon as the new excise policy comes into effect from April 1.

Bhiwani district has the maximum number of panchayats (122) deciding to shut down vends, followed by 90 in Jind, 85 in Rewari, 69 in Mahendergarh, 64 in Karnal, 56 in Hisar, 50 in Panipat, 37 in Sonepat, 34 each in Palwal and Jhajjar, 30 in Fatehabad, 27 in Kaithal, 25 in Gurugram, 20 in Yamunangar and 11 each in Sirsa and Ambala districts.

On the other hand, eight panchayats in Faridabad district sought closer of liquor vends, 7 in Kurukshetra, 3 in Panchkula. No such resolution was passed resolution in Mewat and Rohtak districts.

A bill to amend Section 31 (1) of the Haryana Panchayati Raj Act was passed by the Vidhan Sabha on November 26 providing that liquor sale will be prohibited in a village if 10% members of a gram sabha pass a resolution to this effect. “The idea was to empower people, particularly women. Otherwise, the law provided for a resolution by the gram panchayat,” said an excise official.

The law provided for the rejection of such resolutions by the excise and taxation commissioner (ETC). Section 31 (3) of the Haryana Panchayati Raj Act provided that liquor ban resolutions will not be binding upon the ETC if illicit distillation or alcohol smuggling was being carried out or connived in within two years preceding the date of the resolutions.

In a Facebook post, deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala attributed the move to state’s women and his mother and Badhra MLA Naina Chautala.

“I am glad to share this information that many panchayats have decided to shut down liquor shops in their villages. My mother Naina Chautala had promised to women to get liquor shops closed in their villages,” he added.

Yachika Sihag, a resident of a village in Hisar believes that closure of liquor vends will help keep youngsters away from liquor. “It’s all about honouring the mandate of the panchayats and villagers,” she added.

Jasmer Singh, sarpanch of Kandela village in Jind, said they had passed a resolution seeking closure of liquor vend at their village after women complained of harassment. “School children also get hooked to liquor and there are brawls everyday,” he added.

Residents of Gokalpura village in Bhiwani passed a resolution against sarpanch Rakesh Kumar, seeking the closure of a liquor vend. A zila parishad member and resident of the village, Anil Kumar, accused Rakesh of running the vend.

“The vend generates revenue for the panchayat. Shutting it is not a solution because people will buy liquor from neighbouring villages. It will only promote illegal sale of alcohol,” Rakesh argued.

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