UP government is fighting against time to re-allocate 2,935 displaced liquor shops

Lucknow, Apr 26 : Uttar Pradesh government is fighting against time to re-allocate 2,935 displaced liquor shops after Supreme Court ordered their closure along national and state highways across the country and to be opened only 500 meters away from April 1. Now, the UP government has extended the time for re-allocation of the shops upto May 15. The government has also amended the law by stating that these shops can be opened in the villages which has less than 20,000 population and just 220 meters away from the highways. However, a senior government official here today said that due to non-operation of these 2,935 liquor shops, the government is likely to suffer a loss of Rs 2,000 crore in the revenue collection from the excise department. ''We have extended the time till May 15 for their re-start just to avoid the revenue loss," the sources said. Following the SC order against liquor vending across highways, officials of the department are in a dilemma over plugging of financial losses this year. The department had been generating second highest revenue for state coffers, second only to the commercial taxes department. With the government reiterating that all liquor shops located near religious places, educational institutes and hospitals should also be shut down, liquor traders are finding it hard to look for suitable spaces. Of the 8,500 liquor shops hit by the apex court order, 5,500 shopkeepers had shown interest in relocating to places 500 metres away from highways. The 22 crore odd population of the state consumes a whopping 56 crore litres of alcohol in a year. The financial year closing review done by the excise department shows that alcohol consumption has been steadily rising over the years. Each person in the state consumed 2.54 litres of alcohol annually last year, up from 2.39 litres in 2015. UNI
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