Chandigarh, November 23: The Punjab Cabinet has approved the introduction of the draft Punjab Excise Act, 1914 (Amendment) Bill, 2017 regarding amendment to Sections 26-A, 72, 78 and 81 for legislation in the forthcoming session of the Vidhan Sabha.
Disclosing this here today, a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said that the decision was taken in the meeting of the Cabinet under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.
Amendment to Section 26-A has been approved in view of the July 11, 2017 judgment of the Supreme Court of India. It provides that the condition of sale of liquor through licensed vends at a distance of 500 meters away from National/State highways would not apply to the licensed liquor vends within the limits of Municipal Area.
With amendments to Sections 72, 78 and 81, smuggling of liquor in the state would be controlled as bringing foreign liquor into Punjab in quantities exceeding twelve bottles of 750 millimeters capacity each would now be considered a non-bailable offence. Further, vehicles carrying more than three cases of liquor would be confiscated and would be released during trial only against cash or bank guarantee equivalent to the value of liquor confiscated thereof.
In another decision, the Cabinet agreed to bring a Bill in the forthcoming session of Punjab Vidhan Sabha to amend Section 3(8) of the Punjab Land Revenue Act, 1972, to exclude banana, guava trees and vineyard lands from the definition of orchard so that the base of agricultural production of the state can be diversified from the monoculture of wheat and paddy towards fruits and vegetables. This amendment would provide a legal right to a farmer or tenant carrying guava, banana and vineyard farming to keep up to 20.5 hectares of land.
The Cabinet has further decided to amend Section 27(j) of the Punjab Land Reforms Act, 1972 to ensure that agricultural land which has been utilized for non-agricultural purposes, such as housing, industrial, infrastructure projects like SEZ, tourism units (hotels and resorts), public utilities, warehousing, commercial, cultural, recreational, sports, religious, institutional etc. for the social or economic development of the state are kept out of the purview of this Act.