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Liquor vends closed after Tribune report
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
Liquor vends, both of Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) and country liquor, dotting national and state highways, were yesterday ordered to be closed. However, some of them reopened today.

The closing of vends was not because of any dry day but as a sequel to a story in The Tribune yesterday which highlighted how the directions of the apex court, the Punjab and Haryana High Court as well as the Punjab excise policy were being flouted with impunity by the vendors.

Most of these vends, located less than 75 metres from national and state highways in violation of the directions of the apex court as well as the Punjab and Haryana High Court, have also “encroachments” upon land belonging to the Public Works (Buildings and Roads) Department.

A Tribune team, which undertook an extensive survey of national and state highways on the Chandigarh-Ambala, Chandigarh-Patiala and Chandigarh-Ludhiana roads today, found most of the liquor vends closed in the morning. But late in the afternoon, some of these vends on the Lalru-Chandigarh section had reopened.

“We got instructions from the licensee (owner) around 1 p.m. to reopen the vend which was closed yesterday on instructions from the Excise Department. Though I am not sure my information is that our vend is perhaps too close to the highway. Even others are also on the highways and all were ordered to be closed yesterday. But vends in Haryana were not closed,” remarked a salesman of an IMFL vend near Lalru.

“Please take care of us. I run a dhaba for a living. But this liquor vend is on PWD land and is just a few metres from the national highway,” he told The Tribune team this afternoon.

Interestingly, the signboards of these vends have been given a fresh coat of white paint. All hoardings and banners announcing discounted rates of different brands of liquor, beer and other drinks have been removed. As such it is difficult to spot a liquor vend on the basis of its signboard.

On the Chandigarh-Rajpura road, the vends located close to highways in violation of the court directions were locked by Excise officials yesterday.

“I work for Mr Amrik Singh Dhillon, MLA and a prominent liquor vendor of Punjab. Our vend was locked yesterday and the keys are with Excise officials. We even got a new vend made at an appropriate distance from the highway, but Excise officials did not clear it on the plea that its opening was towards the highway. 

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