Pathankot wine shop owners flout SC norms with impunity : The Tribune India

Pathankot wine shop owners flout SC norms with impunity

Pathankot wine shop owners flout SC norms with impunity

A liquor vend along the Pathankot-Chamba national highway.



Tribune News Service

Ravi Dhaliwal

Pathankot, September 26

Wine shop owners located in the vicinity of the city are blatantly flouting the guidelines of the Supreme Court even as the Excise Department is turning a blind eye to the goings-on.

Apex court’s conditions

In December, 2016, the apex court had banned liquor shops from setting up establishments within 500 metres of national and state highways. In April, 2017, the court had reduced this distance to 220 metres in areas having a population of up to 20,000.

In December, 2016, the apex court had banned liquor shops from setting up establishments within 500 metre of the national and state highways. In April 2017, the court had reduced this distance to 220 metre in areas having a population of up to 20,000. However, nearly a dozen vends are operating near the state and national highways in this district, with some even located right on the side of the roads. In this way, the contractors are getting undue financial advantage over their colleagues who are following the rule book.

The court’s move was aimed at curbing drunk driving on highways and also at reducing road accidents that claimed thousands of lives every year. However, this is not happening in Pathankot as the vendors give two hoots to the court orders.

Intriguingly, excise officials are conveniently turning a blind eye. “Our only concern is that the revenue should flow in which, in any case, is coming from these vends,” said an official.

Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner (AETC) Pawanjit Singh washed his hands off the contentious issue. “Our inspectors regularly pay visits to the areas from where we receive complaints and shut down the erring vends. In any case, we will intensify checking,” he said.

Sources say the AETC is telling only half the story. “Whenever the Excise Department conducts raids, these shop owners down the shutters. However, when the din dies, the vends are reopened. If excise employees are really strict, not even a single vendor can operate on the highways,” said a resident who lives close to the highway.

#pathankot #supreme court

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