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Punjab to amend law to enable hotels serve liquor near highways

Chandigarh,  (IANS) The Punjab government on Monday gave its nod to a proposal to amend Section 26-A of the Punjab Excise Act, 1914, for fixing the location of liquor vends on national and state highways.

The amendment, once passed, would lift restrictions on hotels, restaurants and clubs from serving liquor within 500 meters of highways, a state government spokesman said here after a meeting of the Council of Ministers.

“By amending Section 26-A of Punjab Excise Act, 1914, all ambiguities for serving of liquor at hotels, restaurants and clubs would be removed by adding provisions whereby it is cleared that no retail vend would be opened within 500 metres of the National and State Highways, but these restrictions shall not apply to hotels, restaurants and clubs situated on the National and State Highways.

“The CoM (Council of Ministers) gave a go-ahead to the draft amendment Bill, 2017, in this regard, to be tabled during the current budget session for enactment,” the spokesman, quoting the decision of the Council, said.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh chaired the meeting.

The Council of Ministers also gave its formal approval to the budgetary proposals to be presented by state Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal in the Punjab Assembly on Tuesday.

The Council also approved the setting up of a dedicated horticulture university to promote crop diversification in the state, to help in bringing changes in cropping patterns to include the planting of vegetables, fruits, herbs, aromatic and medicinal herbs, fibre and tuber crops, sericulture, fodder crops and floriculture, the spokesman said.

At present, the total area under fruit plants and vegetables is approximately three lakh hectares in Punjab, constituting only approximately four per cent of the total land in agrarian Punjab and a fraction of the country’s total area.

“Green Revolution” state Punjab contributes nearly 50 per cent of food grains (wheat and paddy) to the national kitty.

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