SC highway liquor sale ban: Excise officials conduct checks at Zirakpur and Kharar hotels

A DAY after the Supreme Court banned serving liquor in hotels, restaurants and banquet halls located within 500 metres of the national and state highways, the excise department carried out checks at Kharar and Zirakpur on Sunday. The officials, however, did not find any violations.

The department also formed five teams to carry out surprise checks at the places barred from serving liquor.

Speaking to Chandigarh Newsline, Excise and Taxation Officer Randeep Singh Gill said that he personally conducted the raids along with his teams in the 25 hotels and 50 banquet halls which were debarred from serving liquor from April 1.

“On Sunday there were some functions in the hotels and banquet halls but we did not find any violations as the owners were aware of the rules,” he said.

Gill said that they had divided the district into four circles and constituted five teams to carry out surprise checks. Meanwhile, the hotel owners are considering the option of cutting down on jobs as they could not serve liquor in their hotel bars. Most of the business is affected at Zirakpur as all the major hotels and banquet halls are located in the town.

Pardeep Aggarwal, president of Hotel Owners Association, said that they were considering the option of downsizing but they would wait for at least 10 days as they did not want to take anyone’s employment.

“We have decided to wait as our national association has decided to move court for reviewing its decision as thousands of people would lose their jobs. People are asking whether they can serve liquor or not. In the last two days the hotels owners have refused to book around 80 functions,” he added.

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