SHILLONG, Feb 23: Following a directive issued by the Supreme Court of India whereby governments have been told not to grant licenses for the sale of liquor along national and state highways, the Government of Meghalaya will soon amend its own excise rules such that this is in conformity with this new directive.
The Apex court in its order passed in December last year had directed all states and union territories that no shop for the sale of liquor shall be visible or situated within a distance of 500 meters of national or state highways from April 1.
“We will be coming up with some amendment rules following the Court’s directives,” State Minister in-charge Excise Zenith Sangma said here on Thursday.
Stating that the existing system will be allowed till March 31, he however said, “We will ensure that the new guidelines are enforced from April 1.”
The amended rules 183 of the Meghalaya Excise Act has prohibited location of liquor shops including bars within 200 meters of religious place, educational institutions, hospitals and 100 meters from mid-point of highways.
The implementation of the new amended rules on April, last year had to a great extent hit the IMFL industry with over 500 shops affected in the state.
Wine shop owners have also expressed strong resentment alleging that the government did not hold any consultations with the stakeholders before passing the same.
In view of this, the state government had earlier also decided that it would have a review on the amended rules especially pertaining to the stipulated distance that wine shops need to maintain away from the said establishments.
However this move has now become redundant with the new directions coming from the Apex Court.
Meanwhile sources informed that the proposal for bringing amendment to the state excise rules will be soon placed before the Cabinet for its approval, which accordingly will tabled during the upcoming budget session of the State Assembly.