Implementation of liquor, meat ban in Mathura begins

Published on Sep 12, 2021 12:04 AM IST
Most of the meat shops as well as restaurants serving non vegetarian food were closed down by Saturday, while a list of liquor vends to be closed or relocated was being prepared.
Restaurants serving meat closed in Mathura on Saturday after the temple town was declared a pilgrimage centre. (HT photo)
Restaurants serving meat closed in Mathura on Saturday after the temple town was declared a pilgrimage centre. (HT photo)
ByHemendra Chaturvedi/Pankaj Jaiswal

Agra/Lucknow After Mathura city was declared a pilgrimage centre by chief minister Yogi Aditya Nath on Friday, the administrative machinery swung into action the same day to implement ban on sale of meat and liquor. Most of the meat shops as well as restaurants serving non vegetarian food were closed down by Saturday, while a list of liquor vends to be closed or relocated was being prepared.

“Excise and animal husbandry departments, Food and Drug Administration, district administration, police and the municipal corporation will work towards the implementation of liquor and meat sale ban in the area (22 municipal wards of Mathura),” said a senior government officer in Lucknow.

“The government has announced Mathura as teeth sthal (pilgrimage centre). Villages like Nandgaon and Barsana were already teerth sthals and now the area has been enlarged. Once our department gets the notification, we will begin rolling out the ban. The department will relocate the existing licensed liquor shops. They have paid the license fee etc, so they will be relocated outside the teerth sthal limits “, said Sanjay R Bhoosreddy, additional chief secretary, excise department, Government of UP.

On Friday, the Yogi Adityanath government declared an area of 10 sq km around the birthplace of Lord Krishna in Mathura-Vrindavan as a ‘teerth sthal’ (pilgrimage site). Sale of liquor and meat was banned in this area comprising 22 wards of the Mathura Nagar Nigam.

“The Mathura Nagar Nigam had forwarded the proposal to declare 22 wards as teerth sthal and it was accepted. Various government bodies will now ensure implementation of the ban because shops and vends selling meat and liquor will either be closed or relocated. Mainly the district excise department and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will ensure compliance with the ban,” said Anunay Jha, municipal commissioner of Mathura.

Dr. Gauri Shankar, the designated officer for Food and Drug Administration said that action against meat shops and restaurants serving non vegetarian food had begun on Friday night.

“There are 18 such registered outlets within these 22 wards of Mathura Nagar Nigam. The action began on Friday night and most of the meat shops and restaurants selling non vegetarian food were closed by Saturday. The remaining are in the process of being closed,” said Dr Gauri Shankar.

“However, in compliance with the alternative suggested by the chief minister, we have offered rehabilitation of those owning these outlets. In case they plan to switch over to another business, like milk or grocery, we will issue license for that at the earliest,” he added.

“A list is being prepared of liquor vends falling in the 22 wards of Mathura Nagar Nigam and this will be forwarded to the excise commissioner in Lucknow. Owners of these vends will have the option to re-locate away from the teerth sthal area or look for other alternatives,” informed sources in the office of the district magistrate in Mathura.

Welcoming the decision, social activist and founder chairperson of ‘Kanak Dhara’ foundation, Dr Laxmi Gautam demanded full compliance with the chief minister’s order.

Seven other spots in Mathura, linked to the life of Lord Krishna and his beloved Radha, were already declared pilgrimage sites by the Yogi regime in the past. These include Vrindavan, Gokul, Barsana, Nandgaon, Goverdhan, Baldev and Radhakund.

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