Ahmedabad, Dec 20 Gujarat Government today said Governor O P Kohli has given a "positive" response to granting approval to an ordinance that seeks to tighten rules against sale and consumption of alcohol in the State and enhance punishment for offenders. The ordinance, seeking to make necessary amendments in the Gujarat Prohibition Act, was approved by the Cabinet on December 15 and sent for the Governor's nod.
The decree proposes stringent action against bootleggers, tipplers and unscrupulous officials. Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja told reporters at Gandhinagar that Raj Bhavan is very "positive" about the ordinance and it was likely to be signed and returned to the Government with approval by tomorrow.
"As the Government is keen to implement the new Act as early as possible, Raj Bhavan has shown a positive view on the ordinance and conveyed to us that the Governor would sign it and return to us by tomorrow. As soon as the ordinance gets approval, the new Act will come into force with immediate effect," said Jadeja.
Some of its key provisions include significant increase in the penalty as well as jail term for those involved in purchase, sale and transportation of liquor in Gujarat, where total prohibition is in force. Under the proposed law, accused in such cases would face up to 10 years in jail and a fine of Rs 5 lakh instead of the three-year punishment under the current Act, an official release said. Similarly, the liquor den operators as well as those helping them would face imprisonment up to 10 years.
In another major amendment, people who create ruckus or harass others in inebriated condition would face a jail term of not less than one year and up to three years. Currently, the punishment for such behaviour is just one to three months of jail and a fine of Rs 200-Rs 500. As per the ordinance, officials found guilty of helping bootleggers escape raids would attract a punishment of seven years in jail and Rs 1 lakh fine.
For effective implementation of the new Act, the Government would form a 'Monitoring Cell', which will have a toll free number. Using that number, people can inform police about any illegal activities related to liquor trade or consumption, said Jadeja. Additional Chief Secretary (Home) M S Dagur along with DGP PP Pandey today held a video conference with all District SPs and Range IGs to make them understand new provisions as well as powers given to police, said the release.