gy correspondent Jammu MAR 6
[ March 07, 2017 ] SC’s ban on sale of liquor at shops within 500 metres of highways ignored Many problems are being faced by the common public in Jammu Division which is also called as “City of Temples” because of the continuous multiplicity of opening up of new bars and restaurants along with the existing bars and restaurants and wine shops. This is adversely impacting the citizens, especially women, young girls, children and youngsters of teen age. That as per the information received under Right to Information Act, 2009, there are presently 220 wine shops running within the Jammu Division, whereas, besides this, there are already 109 bars and restaurants which are functioning within the Jammu Division, they submitted. That there are 03 wine shops and 2 bars and restaurants within the Kashmir Division and 02 wine shops and 20 bars and restaurants within the Ladhakh Division. In view of the mushroom growth of bars, restaurants and wine shops in City of Temples, and continuing new licences is violation of High Court Order which time and again has directed the Govt to ensure proper equilibrium of bars and restaurants and too keeping in view the location. The location must be away from residential areas and also not on highways. It is also apt to mention over here that despite of the huge number of already existing wine shops as well as bars and restaurants within the State of J&K, the Excise Department is still in continuation of the process of issuance/allotment of fresh licenses for opening of new bars and restaurants within the State of J&K. Department grants licence to hotels which are holding star classification and approval of Department of Tourism, which are considered necessary for grant of Licence in form JKEL-3. JKEL-3 license empowers the hotel for service of foreign liquor to the residents in their rooms. In recent eyewash of transparency under the J&K Excise Act a public notice has been published in local newspapers for filing objections if any for opening of bar and restaurant before granting licence to Madan Mohan S/o Dogar Nath R/o 1-A/C-C opposite Women College, Gandhi Nagar Jammu at Channi Himmat, Nanak Nagar, Gangyal road Jammu under name and style of M/s The Bhargav Resorts with in sixty days. However the fact of the matter is particular location where the building is where bar and restaurant is to be started has not been mentioned in the notice and following which the objections can’t be raised by general public and the residents of area in particular. As per the J&k Liquor Licence and Sale Rules, 1984, `The Dy Excise Commissioner shall also ask for the opinion of District Magistrate. If the site of the proposed licence is near a Railway Station, Educational Institution, hospital area or any large factory, mill or workshop, The Dy Excise Commissioner shall ask for the opinion of the Railway, Educational or hospital authorities or commercial firms concerned. In addition to this before granting licence, the department is duty bound to seek NOC from Tourism department and also if the area is within Municipal limit then from Municipal Commissioner, however it seems that in the present case such permissions must have been compromised using political influence or money power and perhaps this is the reason exact location of the place where the bar and restaurant is being started has not been published in the notice for seeking the objections of public.However in this case as there is no mention of particular location, it can’t be established whether there is a Railway Station, Educational Institution, hospital area or any large factory, mill or workshop to file their objections. More over we have Supreme Court’s direction which says that shops within 500 metres of national and state highways across the country can’t be opened, a move aimed at reducing drink driving and road accidents that claim thousands of lives every year. It also expressed serious concern over 150,000 fatalities every year in road accidents, a majority of them attributed to drink driving. In the another notice published for bar and restaurant at Narwal, Bye Pass road Jammu by Vikram Gaupta S/o Vijay Gupta R/o 145 A/D Gandhi Nagar Jammu, Bhupesh Gupta S/o Subash Gupta R/o 175 A/D Gandhi Nagar Jammu, Satpal Gupta S/o Amarnath R/o 14 D/C Gandhi Nagar Jammu and Anil Mahajan S/o Somnath Mahajan R/o 40 B/B Gandhi Nagar Jammu, the exact location has not been mentioned. Moreover as per the SC direction, one cannot open bar and restaurant anywhere near National highway. But Narwal area where there is both fruit and vegetable Markets and where large number of transporters pay frequent visits for loading and uploading can easily access the bar and restaurant in the area and may cause accident of fatal nature after driving consuming alcohol. There is a big question mark on part of Excise department to grant licence at such places prone to taking life of others at risk after consuming alcohol. Excise department should not go for the generation of revenue by allowing bar and restaurant anywhere at their will and at the cost of younger generation health, revenue is must for state but can’t be at the risk of putting so many lives in danger and future of younger generation who may get attracted if such a bar and restaurant is established in such areas.These hotels can also seek separate Licence in form JKEL-4 for service of liquor in exclusive bar and in the restaurant / bar in the hotel premises. The service of liquor is restricted to specified premises of bar and restaurant only. The hotel is required to submit application on its letter head accompanied by the following documents including Documentary proof regarding legal status of the hotel i.e. whether it is a company, partnership firm etc. Whether the hotel is in legal possession of the plot/land. Completion certificate in respect of the hotel building. The applicant is required to submit lay out plan of the hotel, site plan of the licence outlets and the liquor stores. Proof of Department of Tourism. Govt of India indicating the project approval and also recommendation for grant of JKEL-3/JKEL-4 license .The applicant hotel is required to submit application to the Commissioner of Excise through Dy Commissioner Excise Executive Jammu/Srinagar. After scrutiny of the papers submitted and the same having been found to be in accordance with the rules, the hotel premises is inspected by the concerned Excise Officer from the department who submits report to the licence granting authority. The inspection as above is to determine status of the premises under the Excise rules of the J&K Intoxicants Licence and Sales Rules, 1984.Once the hotel has been found to be suitable for grant of licence, the views of the public/residents are invited on the proposal giving them 7 days time in this regard to file objections before the licensing authority. This is done through pasting of notices . After no objection has been received, the competent authority proceeds with approval for grant of licence. After approval, the hotel is required to submit fees as prescribed under the rules. On deposit of the same, licence is issued to the hotel. JKEL-4 Licence for exclusive bar/restaurant within the hotel is granted in conjunction with L-3 Licence only and requirements listed above also apply for grant of JKEL-4 Licence... (See Checklist for grant/renewal of these licences in details)JKEL-4C :- The licence is granted for Bar with Banquet Hall. This licence is granted for a period of one year i.e up 31st March with annual Licence Fee . These licences are renewed every financial year as per the Excise Policy issued by the government.JKEL-4D :- The temporary licence is given with a permission to serve liquor on Social Occasions at Private Places for particular date and specified time only on payment of prescribed licence as per current Excise Policy. These licences are renewed every financial year as per the Excise Policy issued by the governmentJKEL-4E :- The temporary licence is given with a permission to serve liquor in Banquet Halls/Party Hall /Restaurants on social occasions for particular date and specified time only on payment of prescribed licence as per current Excise Policy.All these licencee(except 4D and 4E) have to maintain regular and proper accounts of receipt and sales in Form E-14 and shall also maintain a brand wise register. The licencee cannot sold liquor other than foreign liquor/beer. The license shall sell foreign liquor including beer in retail for consumption on the licensed premises only and no liquor shall be removed from licensed premises for any purpose whatsoever. The licensee cannot sold liquor other than foreign liquor, JK Desi Whisky, Beer and liquor liquor purchased within the State fee of duty or on payment of duty at concessional rates or otherwise from the Canteen Stores Department (India ) Depot., the canteens run by any Army authority or para military units or any other similar organization. Every licensee have to pay Additional Licence Fee as per the current SRO.