Goa government mulls banning liquor consumption at public places

Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016,14:07 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Panaji | The Goa government is mulling to ban consumption of liquor in public places to curb the problem of nuisance caused by people in inebriated state, a senior official said here today. There are complaints from common people about consumption of liquor in public places, which leads to littering and other nuisance. The existing excise law needs to be amended for the same, Goa’s Excise Commissioner Menino D’Souza told.

The state excise department would amend the Goa, Daman and Diu Excise Act, 1964, which would give powers to the department’s inspectors to punish the offenders, he said. The department has already formed a committee headed by former excise commissioner Ashok Desai to review the existing excise law, D’Souza said. According to government records, there are 332 wholesale liquor shops in Goa, besides 9,445 bars and restaurants serving alcohol. D’Souza said the state tourism department has already amended the Goa Tourist Places (Protection and Maintenance) Act to check the nuisance of drunken people at tourist places.

The tourist places are defined as beaches and other spots, and India Reserve Battalion (IRB) of Goa Police have been asked to take action against those found drinking at these places. It is working as a deterrent, he said. The tourism department took the step after groups of errant tourists were found drinking and breaking glass bottles on the beaches, resulting in several injuries, he said. However, D’Souza said, the ban needs to be introduced in a balanced way.

There are many families who go on picnics where they drink in open spaces. They don’t create nuisance. The ban should not affect such kind of picnics, he said. The department is also considering to ban liquor consumption in public places during certain hours. We can even restrict the timings so that there is a control on the problem, he said. Shops selling cheap liquor on wholesale basis have mushroomed in the state and this has heightened the problem of nuisance caused by drunken people.