From Staff Correspondent
Shillong, April 1: Wine shops and bars located within a periphery of 200 meters from educatiol institutions, places of worship and hospitals and those located within 100 meters from the State and tiol highways will have to close down in Meghalaya from Friday.
The closure of these IMFL retail outlets and bars within the prescribed parameters came into effect after the Meghalaya High Court turned down a petition against the Meghalaya government notification under the amended Meghalaya Excise rules.
The number of wine shops which have voluntarily adhered to the notification or have been sealed by the authorities is not immediately known.
However, in Ri-Bhoi district, 67 wine stores and two bars along the tiol highway have been shut down. Twenty nine have been closed down in West Jaintia Hills.
This correspondent visited some places in and around Shillong city and found that some wine stores have downed their shutters, while few have still not adhered to the order contending that their location does not fall within the prescribed rules. Some of those are located in Laitumkhrah and Mawlonghat areas.
Officials of the Excise department have launched drives to ensure that the wine shops do not violate the order.
A senior official in the Excise department said while the closure of these wine shops is in consonce with the law, yet their license will not be cancelled. The license holders of the closed wine dealers will only have to relocate themselves and enough time will be given to them, stated the official.
Going by the number of educatiol and religious institutions in Shillong city, it is apparent that nearly 80 % of the present wine stores will have to shut shop in their present location. Further, relocation is a difficult task since most of the Durbar Shnongs (village councils) prohibits the sale of liquor.