Excise officials shifted, drive against pubs loses steam
September, 13th 2013
The drive against pubs and bars in the city seems to be losing steam with the recent transfer of several senior excise department officials. Despite frequent complaints about the pubs and bars remaining open beyond deadline, no concrete action is being taken against them due to staff crunch.
At present the excise department is functioning without a deputy excise and taxation commissioner and assistant excise officers after Anil Kadyan, along with his entire team, was transferred on Tuesday.
Three excise inspectors Subhash Kaushik, Hansraj and Rakesh Sharma were suspended last week after illegal liquor trade was found to be taking place in their areas of jurisdiction.
A month ago, the excise department and police had launched a drive against pubs and bars flouting norms. The department had claimed to have identified the 'problem areas', including bars and pubs which serve liquor to minors without verifying their age.
Besides, a joint team of excise, police and health department officials was constituted for carrying out inspection of the pubs and bars. The team was to compile a detailed report and submit it to the deputy commissioner and police commissioner, based on which strict action was be taken against those found violating the norms.
"It's true that the excise department is facing staff shortage, bringing the drive against pubs to slowdown. Moreover, most pubs and bars are following the norms as a result of the month-long drive," said an official. Police, however, are keeping watch on the pubs and bars in the various malls on MG Road.
On the other hand, the pub owners claimed that frequent raids and surprise checks were adversely affecting their business as the visitors, particularly females, had to face inconvenience. "Staff crunch in the excise department is proving beneficial for us," said a prominent pub owner.