The Jammu and Kashmir government is going to open liquor sale points at different places across the Valley. This is for the first time since 1990, when the militancy backed by mass uprising erupted in the Valley, that liquor sale points will be opened in the Valley at a large scale.
The excise department, after a survey, identified 183 new locations, 116 in Jammu and 67 in the Kashmir valley for sale of liquor. The department has sought approval for e-auction of sale points from the finance department. A government order in this regard reads, “as per the survey… a total list of 183 locations including 116 in Jammu and 67 in the zones of Kashmir is enclosed.”’
At present, the Union Territory has 224 wine shops with 220 in Jammu and four in Kashmir. Fearing militant threats, the four shops in Kashmir are running from high security zone areas.
As per the documents, the excise department’s survey has identified spots and places in south Kashmir’s all four districts—Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag. The survey also includes spots for sale points in Srinagar, Baramulla, Bandipora, Ganderbal and Budgam.
However, the BJP has been opposing liquor sale in Jammu. In 2018, BJP leader and present president of the party Ravinder Raina had demanded that Jammu and Kashmir be declared a dry state, and alcohol and bars be banned immediately.
Early this month, the J&K government also prohibited transporting of liquor in vehicles having press stickers from one place to another. The government issued the order after it found a trader using vehicles with press stickers for transporting liquor.
The government order says, on inspection in Jammu, it was found that a trader was using vehicles of media for transporting liquor. “In the vehicle press (stickers) were displayed in bold letters all over giving impression that vehicles were meant for carrying newspapers only,” the order says. The excise department sealed the vehicles and said the transportation of liquor in such manner was “unethical” and “illegal”.