Canindia News

Punjab sets up panel on breaking nexus in illicit liquor trade

Chandigarh, June 6 (IANS) A day after he announced a Special Investigating Team (SIT) to probe the trade in illicit liquor, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday said an Excise Reforms Group had been set up to break the nexus between producers, wholesalers and retailers of illicit liquor.

The five-member group has been asked to submit its recommendations on breaking the nexus within 60 days, which would then pave the way for the elimination of illicit liquor trade in Punjab and maximisation of the state’s excise revenue, according to an official spokesperson.

The group comprises Housing and Urban Development Minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria and Public Works Minister Vijay Inder Singla, in addition to retired IAS officer D.S. Kalha, Adviser Financial Resources V.K. Garg and School Education Secretary Krishan Kumar.

Working in tandem with the SIT, which has been tasked with investigation into all aspects of illicit liquor trade in the state, including complicity of Excise Department officials, the group will identify the gaps leading to revenue losses for the state due to such complicity.

The Chief Minister has mandated the group to come up with its suggestions on long-term legal and administrative reforms, after due diligence and consultations with the stakeholders.

In this process, the reforms group may consider the suggestions and reports received earlier from the state Finance Minister on his visit to West Bengal and also from the previous Local Government Minister.

–IANS

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