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Hyderabad 5th June 2014 ; Boozing in public places goes unabated. Many sip it right before the liquor outlets on the roads causing inconvenience. Picture by P.Surendra
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Dispur fires warning shot

Drinking in public places

Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, May 26: As its warning shot, the State Excise Commissioner has asked all excise inspectors in the State to implement the ban on drinking at public places in the strictest sense, failing which, they will be made accountable.

Drinking in public places is banned in the State with the implementation of the Assam Excise (Amendment) Act. However, the ground reality is totally different even after the recent Amendment to the Act.

In order to make implementation of all amendments brought into the Act a reality, the State Excise Commissioner has asked all inspectors of the department to keep watch on people defying the ban on drinking in public places in their respective jurisdictions. Since excise and police officials are not used to with many of the new amendments brought into various sections of the Act, State Excise Minister Parimal Suklabaidya conducted a training programme for excise and police (CID) officials on seizure and implementation of diverse sections of the amended Act recently.

Citing a few instances, Suklabaidya said: “Sections 53(1), 54 and 55 of the Act were bailable sections earlier. However, during the latest amendment they have been made non-bailable ones. Section 53(1) deals with matter relating to penalty for unlawful export, import, transport, manufacture etc. Penalty under Section 53(1) has been made more stringent and punishable for a term up to three years with fine up to Rs 5 lakh.”

Suklabaidya further said: “We’re here to implement the ban on drinking in public places in its strictest term. One of the reasons for bringing in such amendments to the Act is complaints from the general public who’re affected by the practice of drinking in public places. People drinking in front of wine shops, on two-wheelers, inside cars, outside venues during marriage parties etc are a common scene in the State. All these have to be stopped.”
“In the event of receiving complaints of defiance to the ban from affected public, the responsibility will be fixed with the inspectors concerned,” Suklabaidya said.

According to the amended Act, a person caught drinking in a public place will have to cough up a fine amounting up Rs 5,000. In the event a person creating nuisance in a public place after consuming liquor, his punishment is to be more stringent – jail up to three months with fines up to Rs 10,000.

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Ankur Kalita