Govt identifies 67 sites for opening liquor shops in Kashmir

The J&K Government is going to open liquor sale points at different locations in the Kashmir valley, where since 1991 militant groups had declared a ban on its sale and consumption.

The Excise Department has identified 183 new locations — 116 in Jammu and 67 in the Kashmir valley — for sale of liquor. According to an official document, the Excise Department has conducted a survey in exercise of the powers under rule 28 of the J&K Liquor and License Rules-1984 and Section 4 (B) of the Excise Act and identified these locations for the opening of new sale points.

As per the official letter (No EC/Exc/Sub-vend/663), the Excise Department has sought necessary approval to proceed further in the matter.

In 2017, it was all due to threats of militant and separatist groups that the then PDP-BJP government was forced to review its decision of opening a ‘duty-paid’ liquor shop even at the Srinagar airport.

In an effort to boost tourism, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) had floated a tender for a duty-paid liquor shop at the Srinagar airport in 2017. Fearing reaction from radical groups, the then PDP-BJP government had rejected the proposal.

According to official data of the Excise Department, out of total 224 liquor shops in J&K, 220 shops are in Jammu province. In Jammu district only there are 135 liquor shops and only a dozen have been allowed to open.

All the 10 districts of the Jammu region have liquor shops, while only four shops are running in summer capital Srinagar, among the 10 districts of Kashmir. There are two liquor shops in Leh district of the Ladakh region. The four liquor shops of Srinagar are functioning in ‘safer zones’ due to threats of militant groups.

Ban by militants

  • Since 1991, militant groups have declared a ban on liquor in Kashmir, while J&K is officially not a ‘dry region’.
  • Liquor vends were closed in Kashmir after the Allah Tigers, a militant outfit, issued a blanket ban on its sale and consumption soon after the eruption of militancy in the region.

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