Punjab liquor ban: Exempting restaurants, hotels and clubs from Supreme Court’s order of restricting sale of liquor within 500 metres of highways, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh-led Punjab cabinet on Monday gave approval to amend a section of the Punjab Excise Act, 1914. A government release obtained by Indian Express stated that all ambiguities would be removed by adding provisions whereby it is cleared that no retail vend would be opened within 500 metres of the national and state highways, but the restrictions shall not be applicable to the restaurants, hotels and clubs situated on these highways. Speaking about the same, a senior Punjab government official, on the condition of anonymity, said, “There is a ban on sale of liquor, there isn’t a ban on consumption of liquor.” However, the official did not explain how liquor could be consumed in hotels and restaurants without sales.
Another senior official said that the state government took the legislative route as the bureaucracy had already advised against it. “The Supreme Court ruling was not clear about hotels and clubs selling liquor. It was detrimental to the fiscal health of the state as well to businesses along the highways, so we decided to lend some clarity by bringing the amendment,” the official said.
You might also want to see this:
The state government has also announced waiver of crop loans up to Rs 2 lakh for farmers who owns land up to five acre. Even a flat Rs 2 lakh relief for marginal farmers has been announced irrespective of their loan amounts. Announcing the scheme during the ongoing budget session of the Assembly, the Punjab CM said that the state government had also decided to waive off outstanding crop loans of farmers who committed suicide. Even an increase in the ex-gratia for families of farmers who committed suicide to Rs 5 lakh from Rs 3 lakh has been announced by the Pubjab government.
However, speaking in the Assembly, Leader of Opposition H S Phoolka, slammed Congress legislators for expressing happiness over the move, saying that they did not understand its implications.