What we are about to tell you might disgust you but that’s a news you can’t ignore. State Government has paved the way for opening of new liquor vends by giving ‘unusual’ relaxation in the new Excise Policy, which has been made applicable from February 26, 2019. Wait a minute! That’s not the news.
The news is: After the relaxation, liquor vends could be opened in proximity of religious places, educational institutions and hospitals
According to the Excise Policy 2018-19, it was mentioned that new liquor outlets of all types shall be at a minimum distance of 300 meters from the religious places, educational institutions, hospitals, public parks, nearest liquor shops/bars.
The new policy states:
“New liquor vends shall be at a minimum distance of 100 meters from the religious places, schools, hospitals, nearest liquor shops and in conformity with the provisions of the J&K Excise Act, 1958 and Liquor License and Sale Rules, 1984”.
This establishes that Jammu province will be further flooded with liquor shops.
It is pertinent to mention here that maximum number of existing liquor shops in the State are in Jammu province and Government has paved the way for opening of large number of more vends by reducing the distance from 300 meters to 100 meters.
Read also: Jammu & Kashmir has lowest alcohol consumption in North India
This ‘unusual’ relaxation has been given on the pretext of arresting bootlegging and illicit distillation of liquor, which otherwise is very rare phenomenon in urban areas and confined only in rural parts of the State.
The only positive point of the new Excise Policy is that Department of Excise shall undertake a fresh survey of all existing licenses and conduct forensic audit if required so as to detect any Benami ownership, ownership procured in violation of the provisions of J&K Excise Act, Liquor License and Sale Rules and circular instructions issued from time to time.