PUNE: At a time when several civic bodies are moving the PWED Department to denotify stretches of highways being maintained by them to enable liquor shops to open, Saswad Municipal Council imposed a liquor ban.
In a path breaking decision, 19 elected representatives including the Municipal Council President voted in favour of the liquor ban. Sanjay Jagtap, Pune District President of Congress claimed that the Saswad council is the first such local body to pass a resolution for a liquor ban in its General Body meeting.
The town where Sopankaka’s Samadhi is situated is also an important pilgrim centre near Pune.
Jagtap told Sakal Times, “Around 17 liquor vendors are in the town, which includes foreign liquor shops, permit rooms and beer shops.”
Jagtap added that all of these were closed following the Supreme Court order banning liquor vendors from operating within 500 metres distance from the highways. He added that women from Saswad had met several council members demanding that the liquor shops be closed permanently.
Accordingly Anandi Jagtap, Council member tabled a proposal in the General Body meeting held on Thursday. All 18 members voted in favour of this proposal and President Martand Bhonde too voted in its favour.
Jagtap added that on behalf of the council, a letter has been sent to Pune District Collector Saurabh Rao, Pune Rural Superintendent of Police Mohammed Suvez Haque and the Excise Department stating that the council intends that the ban on liquor shops should continue.
As a next step a committee comprising collector, the superintendent of police and an excise official will hold a secret ballot in support of this decision.
As per the existing Maharashtra Prohibition Act amended in 2009, a secret ballot to shut down liquor shops needs to be called if it is demanded by 25 per cent of the women population. During such ballot if 50 per cent vote against the liquor shops, then they are shut down by state administration.