The Punjab Cabinet on Monday gave its nod to amend a section of the Punjab Excise Act, 1914, that will exempt hotels, restaurants and clubs from the Supreme Court order restricting sale of liquor within 500 metres of highways.
A government release said that by amending Section 26-A of the Punjab Excise Act, 1914, all ambiguities would be removed and while there will be no retail vend within 500 metres of the national and state highways, these restrictions shall not apply to hotels, restaurants and clubs situated on the national and state highways.
“There is a ban on sale of liquor, there isn’t a ban on consumption of liquor,” said a senior Punjab government official, but refused to clarify how liquor could be consumed in hotels without sale. Other government officials, also had no clear explanations. One senior official said the bureaucracy had advised against it, which is why the government had decided to take the legislative route.
“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.