M A I N   N E W S

Poll threat to big, fat Punjabi wedding
With Jan 28-30 dry days, families look to shift functions out of state
Aman Sood/TNS

Patiala, January 14
The Election Commission’s order to observe January 28, 29 and 30 as dry days in Punjab is dampening the spirits of many in the wedding season.
Following the EC order, the state Excise and Taxation Department has imposed a ban on issuing permits to serve alcohol in the state on the three days.

“We have received many applications seeking permission to serve liquor, but we are rejecting all of these,” said Patiala Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner HPS Ghotra. Liquor cannot be served in the state from 5 pm on January 28 till 5 pm on January 30. Vends will also remain closed on these days.

The decision comes in the midst of the wedding season in a state where celebrations are considered incomplete without an uninterrupted supply of alcohol. Families in wedding mode are disappointed.

“We scheduled our son’s reception for January 29 in Bathinda three months ago. The invites have already been sent out and now we are told that January 29 is a dry day. In Punjab, marriages are incomplete without liquor,” said a lawyer whose application for a liquor permit was turned down.

A Sangrur resident who had organised his daughter’s ring ceremony at a Patiala banquet hall for January 30 is moving the function to Panchkula after being denied a liquor permit. “My daughter’s engagement date was fixed last June. Our friends and relatives are coming in from the UK and all the invites have been sent out. We have decided to shift the function to Panchkula so that everyone can have a good time,” he said.

Punjab Excise and Taxation Department Commissioner A Venu Prasad said the poll panel’s orders were final. “We know many functions are scheduled for January 28, 29 and 30 but there is little that can be done. The EC orders are very clear and cannot be flouted,” he said. Punjab Joint Chief Electoral Officer Gurkirat Kirpal Singh also expressed helplessness on the issue.

“Under no provision can liquor be allowed during these three days critical for the poll process in the state,” he said. With the panel apprehensive of excessive use of liquor in the state in the run-up to the January 30 elections, strict instructions are in place to check illegal liquor. “EC’s suspicion is not unfounded. Chances of misuse of permission for consumption of liquor at private functions are always there as 60% liquor trade in the state is run by politicians and their aides,” said an excise officer.



Jagir Kaur booked after liquor seizure

After 183 cases of Indian made foreign liquor were seized from a tempo at Talwandi village on Friday evening, an FIR has been registered against SAD’s Bholath candidate and former SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur and her relatives on Congress candidate Sukhpal Khaira’s complaint. (Details on Punjab page)





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