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Bill on shutting liquor vends awaits Guv nod

The Tribune 2019-12-03 07:35:00
Involves support of 10% population before decision

The Bill permitting gram sabhas to pass a resolution with support of at least 10 per cent of the population against the opening of liquor vends is still awaiting the Governor’s nod, even as the state government has fixed December 31 as the deadline for such resolutions.

Sources said the Bill, passed by the Haryana Vidhan Sabha on November 26, is awaiting the government’s approval, after which it would be forwarded to the Governor of the state, Satyadev Narayan Arya, for his approval.

The panchayats are expected to hold gram sabhas for such resolutions before the December 31 deadline expires, and send their resolutions to the Excise and Taxation Department, which will take a final call.

The sources in the Excise Department maintained that the 10 per cent clause was added because complaints against the high-handedness of sarpanches in deciding over the issue of opening of vends were being received.

“The clause will ensure the villagers have a say in the matter. We are working on the presumption that women don’t approve of vends in the village and constitute nearly 50 per cent of the population. Even if we presume that the sex ratio is skewed, there will be enough numbers to surpass the cut-off of 10 per cent. Further, this will take away the power that the sarpanches had in the decision-making as far as the subject of vends is concerned,” a senior official said.

A schedule for holding of the gram sabha meetings is being prepared, though it will be announced only once the Governor gives his nod.

The state, presently, has as many as 1,100 vends and 2,200 sub-vends in the rural areas. The Excise Department had, last year, received over 400 resolutions, seeking a ban on the opening of vends. However, only 100 approvals were given. The remaining resolutions were rejected on the basis of a special power, which lays down that such a resolution can be turned down if there have been any cases of boot-legging in the village in the last two years.

The sources in the Excise Department said the resolutions would start pouring in once the gram sabha meetings were held. After the deadline, such resolutions could be submitted directly to the Excise and Taxation Commissioner by January 15. They would be considered, but would be accepted only if there were no case of boot-legging and no FIRs for the same were filed in that particular village.

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