Cuttack: In the interest of free and fair Panchayat election, the State Excise Commissioner Ashish Kumar Singh has banned sale, transport and distribution of liquor in the respective Blocks during polling and counting of votes.
Following the instruction of the SEC, Mr.Singh has written a letter to all Collectors to ensure closure of licensed premises for retail sale of foreign liquor, IMFL and country liquor in the constituency area and adjoining areas during the period of 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for the conclusion of poll up to day following the poll day. The polling is scheduled to be held on February 16, 18, 20, 22, and 24.
“This is in tune with Section 135C of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 which provides that no spirituous, fermented or intoxicating liquors or other substances of a like nature shall be sold, given or distributed at a hotel, eating house, tavern, shop or any other place, public or private, within a polling area within the respective Wards during the period of 48 hours preceding the poll upto the day following the poll day,” said Mr.Singh, adding this will include the dates of re-poll if any.
As per the order, no Liquor shops, hotels, restaurants, clubs and other establishments selling / serving liquor will be permitted to sell/serve liquor to anyone whosoever, on the aforesaid days.
Non-proprietary clubs, star hotels, restaurants etc. and hotels run by anyone, even if they are issued different categories of licenses for possession and supply of Liquor, shall also not be permitted to serve liquor on these days.
Similarly, the storage of liquor by individuals will be curtailed during the above period and the restrictions provided in the Excise-law on the storage of liquor in unlicensed premises shall be vigorously enforced.
In addition to the above, the Excise Commissioner asked the Collectors to take steps to prohibit sale of liquor in the areas adjoining the wards to forestall the chance of clandestine movement of liquor from the area, had the restrictions not been in-force.
Intensified joint raids by Excise, Police and Forest personnel will be carried out to avert any liquor related issue.
Similarly, the Collectors have been asked to declare counting days (February 26, 27 and 28) as Dry Day under section of the Odisha Excise Act, 2008 and the Odisha Excise Rules, 2017 ensuring closure of licensed premises for retail sale of foreign liquor, IMFL and country liquor within the respective Blocks on the days of counting.
The Commission has directed that no spirituous, fermented or intoxicating liquors or other substances of a like nature shall be sold, given or distributed at a hotels, eating houses, tavern, shops or any other place, public or private within the respective blocks as on the day of counting.
As per schedule, the counting will be completed on the first day of counting in 15 Blocks as they have got one Zilla Parishad constituency in the Block.
Similarly, 126 Blocks have two Zilla Parishad constituencies each and their counting will be completed on February 26 and 27 while counting in remaining Blocks will be done on all the three days of counting.