Some licencees of model and desi liquor vends have opened their shops in residential areas, even close to temples, in Uttar Pradesh in violation of the rules. This has left the residents of such localities fuming even as the officials concerned turn the Nelson’s eye to these shops.
As per Rule 5(4) of The UP Number and Location of Excise Shop Rules, 1968, no liquor shop should be in close proximity to places of worship, place of public resort, school, hospital, factory, the entrance to a bazaar or a residential colony. Ironically, this rule is hardly followed in the Excise department. As a result, a number of liquor shops have mushroomed in residential areas and close to temples in various districts, including Lucknow.
“The Excise department has conveniently forgotten to enforce the rules on opening of model/desi liquor shops in the mad rush to increase revenue. The liquor shops at prohibited places cause a lot of inconvenience to the public and often create law and order problem. The residents complain to the local administration and police but there seems to be no one to listen to their grievances,” sources said.
Recently, a model/desi liquor shop was opened in Anand Nagar of Lucknow (near UP Home Guards headquarters), flouting all norms. A social worker, DN Pandey of Chinhat, alleged that the Excise department also gave licence to open a liquor shop close to a 50-year-old temple.
“This liquor shop is also close to the main entrance to Anand Nagar and some schools in the locality,” he said.
Pandey had complained about this shop to Lucknow police and Excise department but is yet to get a response.
Similarly, at Picnic Spot road in Lucknow, there is a shop selling beer and liquor and another selling desi liquor close to a temple. Similarly, there is a liquor shop near Bhoothnath market, on the ground floor of a building which also has flats of government officials.
“There are a large number of liquor shops that have been opened in violation of existing rules in Lucknow. In Unnao, Sitapur, Barabanki, Rae Bareli also one can see several shops flouting the law but the Excise department has closed its eyes just for the revenue that comes from them,” the sources said.
They said the excise inspectors have been given the task to ensure that liquor shops run and they flout the norms to keep their performance scale high.
The sources said the department never goes for spot checking after a person applies for a liquor shop licence. “Any adverse report is cleared by the excise inspectors,” the sources said.
District Excise Officer Janaradan Yadav said the department initiates action on getting complaint. “In the past, we have addressed several such cases. The onus to ensure compliance with the laws on opening of liquor shops is on the department and we ensure it without fail,” he said.