Agartala/Aizawl, April 21 (IANS) The Tripura and Mizoram governments have implemented the Supreme Court order in toto to ban liquor shops and outlets along the National Highways, officials said on Friday.
According to officials of the two states, after the Supreme Court’s December 15 order, the Tripura and Mizoram governments asked all the District Magistrates and Collectors to relocate the liquor shops and outlets 500 metres away from National Highways.
“Of the 131 liquor shops in Tripura, 82 fall along the National Highways and Highways. Of the 82 liquor shops and outlets most have shifted to new places beyond 500 metres of the National Highways and highways,” said an official of the Taxes and Excise Department of Tripura.
He said some of the liquor shops and outlets are yet to set up shops in new locations due to objection by the public and other legal and technical reasons.
The official said that to relocate liquor shops and outlets away from the National Highways and Highways, the Tripura government has amended the Tripura Excise Rules, 1990, under the Tripura Excise Act, 1987.
“We had told the owners of liquor shops and outlets that licence of liquor shops along National Highways would not be renewed after March 31,” the official added.
The Tripura government earned Rs 162 crore revenue in 2016-17 from the liquor business – Rs 19 crore more than the previous fiscal.
The official said the Tripura government has also barred setting up of liquor shops near educational institutions, religious places, hospitals, political party offices, industries and factories.
As per the apex court directive, liquor shops, outlets and bars should move beyond 500 metres of National Highways. The court in its December 15 order had also stipulated a deadline to the states asking them to relocate the liquor joints by March 31, 2017.
In Mizoram, at least 12 liquor shops were closed down in the mountainous state following the Supreme Court order.
According to Excise and Narcotics superintendent of Aizawl district, Z. Lalhmangaiha 12 out of 34 liquor shops in Aizawl town were shut down by the department as they were within 500 metres from the Highways.
“Besides closing the shops, the vending licenses of the shop owners were suspended for some time. These would be renewed if they relocate their liquor shops 500 metres away from highways,” he said.
Mizoram’s Excise and Narcotics Minister R. Lalzirliana had announced that the state government would implement the Supreme Court order to ban liquor shops along National Highways.
After 18 years of imposing stringent prohibition, the Mizoram government lifted the liquor ban in the state in March 2015, allowing opening of liquor shops in the Christian-dominated tribal majority state under the Mizoram Liquor Prohibition and Control Act, 2014.