MADHYA PRADESH on Wednesday announced its excise policy for 2018-19 under which areas near sacred rivers, religious places, schools, colleges, and girls’ hostels will be declared dry zones where consumption of liquor will be prohibited.
While clearing the policy, the state cabinet decided to close liquor shops located within 50 metres of schools, colleges and authorised hostels meant for girls across the state.
As many as 149 aahatas or shop bars run by outlets selling IMFL and country liquor will also be closed down, Cabinet Minister Narottam Mishra said. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had earlier announced that all aahatas will be closed down from April 1.
Mishra did not offer any explanation for why only 149 of an estimated 3,000 aahatas were being closed down.
After Chouhan’s announcement, some ministers had argued that shutting down all aahatas would mean that liquor will be consumed everywhere, unlike the designated places, and defeat the regulation’s purpose.
The Cabinet also proposed amendments to the IPC to ensure that criminals do not benefit if they commit a crime under the influence of liquor, and instead be given more punishment. The Cabinet decided to send the proposal to the home department.
The Cabinet also decided to make necessary legal changes to give collectors power to extern for six months habitual offenders and hardened criminals involved in excise-related offences.
Noting that liquor consumption was on the rise in rural and urban areas, the Cabinet said awareness should be created and committees should be formed at village, block and district levels to inform the excise and police departments about illegal production of liquor.
In another measure related to cutting down on illicit liquor, the Cabinet decided to create a facility to allow consumers to know if the liquor they buy is legal by sending hologram number printed on liquor bottles to 5626345000.
Bharat Mata temple
Bhopal: The state Cabinet on Wednesday granted permission to allot 5.046 hectare land to Bhopal Municipal Corporation to construct a Bharat Mata temple. It will be built at Singarcholi in Bhopal. ENS