Haryana areas to have ‘dry days’ for next month’s panchayat polls

Chandigarh, Dec 28 (IANS) With Haryana all set for next month’s elections to panchayati raj institutions (PRIs), different areas of the state will have ‘dry days’ where sale and consumption of liquor will be prohibited for a specified period.

“In view of the elections to PRIs in Haryana being held on January, 10, 17 and 24, 2016, ‘dry days’ would be declared and notified under relevant laws for such periods during the elections as are appropriate at or around the area where elections are to be held,” state election commissioner Rajeev Sharma said here on Monday.

The ‘dry days’ will be observed in the notified areas for two days, which will end with the end of the voting process in that particular area.

‘Dry day’ will also be observed on the day of counting of votes.

Sharma said no liquor shops, hotels, restaurants, clubs and other establishments selling or serving liquor would be permitted to sell or serve liquor to any person.

“Proprietary clubs, star hotels, restaurants etc. and hotels run by anyone even if they are issued different categories of licenses for possession and supply of liquor, would not be permitted to serve liquors on these days,” Sharma said.

He said the storage of liquor by individuals would be curtailed during the period and the restrictions provided in the excise laws on the storage in unlicensed premises would be vigorously enforced.

Sharma said steps would also be taken to prohibit the sale of liquor in adjoining areas, so that there are no chances of clandestine movement of liquor from areas where there is no restriction.

“With January 26 already being a dry day, the addition of three more dry days in the month of January will make it a difficult month for liquor consumers in Haryana,” said Ramesh Kumar, a resident of Nilokheri near Karnal town.

The Haryana State Election Commission had on December 15 announced the schedule for the panchayat elections in the state. The dates were announced following the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Haryana Panchayati Raj Amendment Act, 2015, providing for educational qualifications and other eligibility criteria, including a functional toilet at home.

There are 6,198 gram panchayats, 126 panchayat samitis and 21 zila parishads in the state. Elections would be conducted for 416 members of 21 zila parishads, 3,001 posts of 126 panchayat samitis, and 6,198 posts and 62,492 posts of sarpanch and panch.

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