Thursday, February 4, 2010

[rti_india] Panchayats can prohibit sale of liquor’/Panchayats put up fight against alcoholism


'Panchayats can prohibit sale of liquor' 
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 12
Though panchayats have the power to introduce prohibition on the sale of liquor in their respective villages in the state, yet it seems that a majority of them are ignorant about the provision, "Power to introduce prohibition," mentioned in the Punjab Panchayati Raj Act.

Social activist Kamal Anand, who has been working on social issues, including implementation of the Right to Information Act for the past some years, said yesterday, "As per Section 40 of the Punjab Panchayati Raj Act, a gram panchayat by a resolution, supported by at least two-thirds of panchs passed at any time on or after April 1 and on or before September 30, could direct that liquor may not be sold at any licensed shop within the Gram Sabha area".

Anand further said as per the Act, such a resolution, passed by the panchayat, would be binding upon the Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Punjab.

However, such a resolution would not be binding upon the Commissioner only if he/she was of the opinion, based on concrete evidence, that illicit distillation or smuggling of alcohol had been made in that particular area during the past two years, he added.

Anand further said it was a matter of happiness that even without having knowledge about the Section 40, Punjab Panchayati Raj Act, the panchayat of Jalan village, near Ghabdan village of the district, had created an example by way of passing a resolution on June 1 that it would neither allow the opening of a liquor shop in its village nor allow the sale of liquor.

Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Sangrur, TS Virk confirmed that under the Panchayati Raj Act the panchayats had the power to introduce prohibition in villages. However, he said, the Excise and Taxation Commissioner would take the final decision.

Panchayats put up fight against alcoholism 
Umesh Dewan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 3
In order to completely "discourage" alcohol consumption in their villages, the Panchayats of 44 villages of eight districts of Punjab have passed a resolution under Section 40 of the Punjab Panchayati Raj Act, urging the Excise and Taxation authorities not to allow liquor shops be opened in their villages from the next fiscal.

Representatives of 22 village Panchayats of Sangrur district also met State Excise and Taxation Officer A Venu Prasad in Patiala today in this regard. They said they would explore the possibility of taking legal recourse, in case the Excise Department allots liquor vends in their villages next fiscal. The villages that have taken this initiative are from Sangrur (22), Mohali (3), Bathinda (2), Ferozepur (1), Hoshiarpur (6), Barnala (3), Ludhiana (1), Patiala (3) and Faridkot (3).

Speaking to The Tribune, Sarpanch of village Chudal (Sangrur) Sukhdev Singh said they did not want the youth to spoil their life by getting addicted to alcohol.

"After some NGOs educated us about the powers we have under the Punjab Panchayati Raj Act, we decided to put forward the resolution that disallows the opening of liquor shops in villages."

When contacted, Venu Prasad said the process of giving personal hearing to the village Panchayats was on, and the decision would be taken thereafter. However, sources in the Excise Department told The Tribune that if the department enforced the resolution, it would mean decrease in the number of liquor vends, which, in turn, would lead to a dip in revenue.

"There is a possibility that after the closure of liquor vends, the youth might get hooked to drugs like opium," a senior official said.



No comments:

Post a Comment