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Uttarakhand to impose time restriction on liquor sale

Chief minister says sale of liquor will be allowed in the hill state only for a fixed period from 3pm to 6pm

dehradun Updated: Apr 18, 2017 19:53 IST
Deep Joshi
Deep Joshi
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Liquor ban,Bihar prohibition,Trivendra Singh Rawat
Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat announces that sale of liquor will be allowed in the state only for a fixed period from 3pm to 6pm(PTI Photo )

Uttarakhand will soon go partially dry with the state’s BJP government deciding to impose a time restriction on the sale of liquor.

“Liquor sale will now be allowed only for a fixed period from 3pm to 6pm. Liquor traders won’t be allowed to do business for 14-15 hours a day as had been the practice earlier,” chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat announced on Tuesday.

The revenue loss to be caused by the ‘partial ban’ will be compensated from “various other sources,” the CM added.

The hill state earns around Rs 2000 crore annually from the excise revenue.

The government is also contemplating to amend the Excise Act to make it more stringent.

“The excise law will also be amended so that strongest possible action can be taken against those engaged in illicit liquor trade”, the CM added.

Interacting with media persons on completing a month in office, Rawat said punishment for illicit liquor trade would be so severe under the soon-to-be-amended excise law that no one would dare to engage in such business.

Officials were already directed to prepare the draft of the amended law for tabling in the assembly for its passage.

Rawat, however, made it clear that his government had no plan to impose a blanket ban on the sale and consumption of liquor in the state. He said a total prohibition is not feasible in Uttarakhand in view of a large number of tourists visiting the state.

Citing that how a complete ban in Haryana under the chief ministership of Bansi Lal had failed with even women hitting the streets seeking withdrawal of prohibition, Rawat hinted how such step could even lead to a spike in hooch consumption.

He also claimed the Prohibition imposed by the Bihar government had considerably hit trade and business in that state.

In the same breath Rawat added that his government was committed to controlling the sale of liquor in Uttarakhand in the next seven to eight years.

Rawat said women who “are worst affected” by consumption of liquor by men would be greatly relieved by his decision to curtail the timing of liquor sale. It will also dissuade “younger generation from drinking alcohol,” he added.

The BJP government is also preparing an effective mining policy with an aim to raise the annual revenue earning from the sector to Rs 1000 crore from the current Rs 285 crore, the CM said.

“A plan was also afoot to initiate steps to make process of registry of land foolproof”, Rawat said adding, faulty procedures were being misused by those engaged in sale of land.

To check forced migrations from remote hill areas of the state, the CM said, a scheme would be launched to encourage hill farmers to grow “high quality exotic” walnuts to fetch good returns.

First Published: Apr 18, 2017 19:53 IST

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