JAMMU; The Department of Excise has claimed that it was not allowing liquor vends near schools, hospitals and religious places as being doubted about the new Excise Policy for 2019.
Clarifying, a spokesman of the Department in a statement said that the Excise Policy is announced every year to define the duties and procedures to levy the taxes and duties and also to remove any difficulty in regulating the sale of liquor. In the policy for 2017-18, it was for the first time defined that the distance of the liquor vend from the religious places, educational institutions, Hospital or existing liquor shops should be 100 meters away. However this position was changed in the Excise Policy for 2018-19 and the distance between such establishments was defined as 300 meters, the spokesman of the Department said in a statement.
The spokesman added that in the current Excise policy (2019-20), the same position as was existing in the policy for 2017-18 has been maintained and no new criteria has been adopted as has been given the impression in the said newspaper reports.
The spokesman reiterated that the opening of the liquor vends is regulated by the J&K Excise Act, 1958 and the Rules framed there under vide SRO NO.679 dated 13-12-1984. Under these rules new vends are to be opened after due notification for objection of the general public and seeking opinion of the District Magistrate, Sr. Supdt. Of Police and Municipal Authority.
The spokesman also clarified that the opening of sub vends during 2004-05 in unserved/underserved areas was mainly to control the illicit liquor and psychotropic substances. 11 such vends are operational since 2005 in various areas of the State and current policy has made various provisions to regularize these already operational sub vends subject to fulfillment of formalilites as envisaged in the J&K Liquor License and Sales rules, considering the fact that these are operational since last fifteen years and people of the area have been utilizing the services of these vends, he added.
The new excise policy for the year 2019-20 aims at balancing the aspirations of the citizens, consumers, manufacturers, wholesalers and the Government keeping in view drinking is injurious to health, and it is the State’s duty to contain and regulate its use, he reaffirmed.
The Department is fully conscious of the sentiments of the people and these shall be fully taken care of while considering cases for regularization or issuing of licenses and it is not the intention of the Government to promote these near schools, religious places or near Hospitals, the spokesman added.