Chandigarh: The Punjab Cabinet on Saturday approved the historic Excise Policy for the year 2017-18, bringing down the number of liquor vends from 6384 to around 5900, and banning operation of all liquor vends within 500 metres from National and State Highways.
A decision to this effect, in line with the pre-poll promise of Captain Amarinder Singh, was taken by the Council of Ministers in its maiden meeting held under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister here at Punjab Bhawan.
Disclosing this here, a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said that in compliance with the orders of the Supreme Court of India, no liquor vend would be allowed to operate within a distance of 500 metres from the outer edge of National Highways and State Highways.
As per the new Excise policy, the system of wholesale licence L-1A has been abolished. The L-1 licensees would lift their quota directly from the distilleries/ bottling/ plants/ manufacturing companies. The L-1 licence would be granted to a retail licensee (L-2 Licensee) in the concerned district who has secured atleast one group/ zone in a district.
The quota of country liquor has been reduced from 10.10 crore proof litres to 8.70 crore proof litres i.e. by 14%. Similarly, the quota of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) has been reduced from 4.73 crore proof litres to 3.80 crore proof litres i.e. by 20%.
FIRST SESSION OF 15th VIDHAN SABHA FROM MARCH 24
The first session of the 15th Vidhan Sabha of Punjab will be summoned at 2 p.m. on March 24, 2017.
This was decided here on Saturday at the first meeting of the state cabinet, under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh. The Cabinet also authorised the Chief Minister to approve the Governor’s address for the first session.
The newly elected members of the Vidhan Sabha would be administered oath on March 24 and 27. The election of Speaker and Deputy Speaker would be held on March 27, followed by Obituary references to the prominent dignitaries, who passed away during the intervening period of the current session.
The Punjab Governor would address the Vidhan Sabha on March 28, followed by a debate on the Governor’s Address and Motion of thanks, besides presentation of Supplementary Grants for year 2016-17 and the Vote on Account for 2017-18 on March 29.
In another decision, the Cabinet okayed the terms and conditions for the appointment of Mr. Suresh Kumar, IAS (Retd.) as the Chief Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister in the rank of Government of India’s Cabinet Secretary.
CABINET MEET DECIDES TO SET UP SPECIAL TASK FORCE TO ELIMINATE DRUGS FROM PUNJAB
Launching a major crackdown on the drugs menace in the state, the Punjab cabinet on Saturday decided to set up a Special Task Force (STF) in the Chief Minister’s office to prepare and implement a comprehensive programme to eliminate drugs from the state, as promised by the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) in its election manifesto.
It also decided to direct the State Home Department to prepare and submit a proposal, in the next cabinet meeting, for the enactment of the Confiscation of Drug Dealers Property Act by issuing an ordinance. The proposed legislation will pave the way for the authorities to confiscate the properties and assets of those found guilty of trading or dealing in drugs.
The cabinet, at its first meeting chaired by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh at the Punjab Bhawan here, decided to take up the elimination of drugs from the state on top priority.
It was decided that the STF would monitor, on a day-to-day basis, the measures taken or to be taken to check the supply and consumption of drugs in the state. Expressing concern at the widespread trading and consumption of drugs, especially chitta, which had destroyed an entire generation of youth in Punjab, the cabinet decided that a vigorous campaign to educate young people, and to treat and rehabilitate drug users with compassion would be initiated immediately.
It was further decided that anyone who registers himself at the District De-addiction Centers would be treated with compassion, free of cost, and no case would be registered against such persons. Instead, the State Police would take stringent action against drug dealers/peddlers to ensure that the drugs were obliterated from the state forthwith, the cabinet decided.