Punjab to pave way for hotels and pubs near highways to serve liquor
The amendment, once passed, would lift restrictions on hotels, restaurants and clubs from serving liquor within 500 metres of highways, a state government spokesman said here after a meeting of the council of ministers.Updated: Jun 20, 2017 09:28 IST
The Punjab government on Monday gave its nod to the proposal to amend section 26A of the Punjab Excise Act, 1914, for fixing location of liquor vends on national and state highways. The amendment, once passed, would lift restrictions on hotels, restaurants and clubs from serving liquor within 500 metres of state and national highways, a spokesman said here after a meeting of the council of ministers.
“No retail vend (of liquor) would be opened within 500 metres of the national and state highways, but these restrictions shall not apply to hotels, restaurants and clubs,” he said.
The Supreme Court had on December 15 last year called for the closure of liquor vends within a 500-metre radius from highways. The order has come into effect from April 1 this year.
“The CoM (council of ministers) gave a go-ahead to the draft amendment Bill in this regard, to be tabled during the current budget session for enactment,” the spokesman said. Chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh chaired the meeting.
“Through the amendment, all ambiguities pertaining to serving of liquor at hotels, restaurants and clubs near the highways would be removed,” said the spokesman.
To circumvent the SC order, the Chandigarh administration had renamed its state highways as district roads while the Haryana excise department too has said that the ban only applies to vends.
The council also gave its formal approval to the budgetary proposals to be presented by finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal in the assembly on Tuesday.
The council also approved the setting up of a dedicated horticulture university to promote crop diversification in the state, to help in bringing changes in cropping patterns to include the planting of vegetables, fruits, herbs, aromatic and medicinal herbs, fibre and tuber crops, sericulture, fodder crops and floriculture, the spokesman said.
At present, the total area under fruit plants and vegetables is approximately 3 lakh hectares in Punjab, constituting only approximately 4% of the total land in agrarian Punjab and a fraction of the country’s total area.
Green Revolution state Punjab contributes nearly 50% of foodgrains (wheat and paddy) to the national kitty.