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Punjab govt to shut more than 450 liquor shops

Press Trust of India  |  Chandigarh 

In-line with its poll promise to discourage alcohol consumption in Punjab, the today decided to close over 450 shops in the state.

The under its new excise policy for 2017-18 also announced to slash the quota and ban sale of alcohol within 500 meters of national and state highways.

There are 6,384 vends in the state, it will be reduced to 5,900, a spokesman with the Chief Minister's Office said.

The decision was taken in the maiden cabinet meeting of the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh-led here, he said.

In its poll manifesto, the had announced, that "to discourage consumption in and substantially reduce its sale in five years, it will close five per cent of vends each year."

The new state also announced to reduce quota by up to 20 per cent, the spokesman said.

The quota of country has been reduced by 14 per cent from 10.10 crore proof litres to 8.70 crore proof litres and the quota of Indian Made Foreign (IMFL) has been reduced by 20 per cent from 4.73 crore proof litres to 3.80 crore proof litres, he said.

A State Excise and Taxation Department official said the quota in had reached its saturation point and it was leading to bootlegging incidents.

The spokesman said in compliance with the Supreme Court order, no vend would be allowed to operate within 500 metres of national and state highways.

The has also abolished the "controversial" wholesale licence for the L-1A category. This will allow L-1 licensees to directly purchase their quota from the distilleries, bottling plants and manufacturing companies, he said.

The L-1 licence would be granted to retail L-2 licensees in the districts concerned, the spokesman said.

The previous SAD-BJP had came under sharp criticism last year after the wholesale licence for L-1A category was introduced. Several people engaged in the trade alleged it was benefiting certain groups in this category.

It was also alleged that wholesale licence L-1A category was introduced to monopolise the trade in the state.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, March 18 2017. 17:57 IST