7 ex-MLAs, 1 former MP running Liquor Business – Fin Min

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Srinagar, October 06: Several former politicians in Jammu and Kashmir are involved in the alcohol business.

The information has been provided in a written reply by the Finance Minister of the State, Haseeb Drabu during the ongoing autumn session of the legislative assembly. He said there are eight people who are former MLAs and an ex-MP with licenses for the sale of liquor in Jammu, Samba, Kathua and Leh districts, while there are a total of 225 wine shops running across the state.

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Among these 225 wine shops, there are just four running in Srinagar and two in Leh while the other 219 are in the 10 districts of Jammu. The licensed liquor stores includes 135 liquor shops, 15 hotels with bars, seven hotels with Bar and Banquet, 39 bars with restaurant, one bar with banquet, four bars with clubs and one bar in officers’ mess.

Apart from these, there are 17 wholesale trade licenses, 20 wholesale trade licenses (manufacturing outside State) and two each outside manufacturers or suppliers for possession and wholesale of bio-imported foreign liquor and bio wine-Indian in Jammu district.

The information has been provided in connection to the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Karwan-e-Islami on September 29 demanding ban on liquor in the State. As per the HC notice, State Government has been given a week’s time to file its response.

Drabu informed the assembly that Udhampur has the second highest number of liquor shops with their number standing at 21 followed by 19 in Kathua, 11 in Samba, nine in Rajouri and seven in Reasi. Also, six liquor shops has been in Ramban and Doda districts, four in Poonch and one in Kishtwar.

In addition to these there are 13 sub vendors in Jammu and Kashmir and three whole sale trade liquor licenses running in Leh, two in Samba and one each in Kathua, Udhampur and Srinagar districts. Also, there are 14 hotels with bars in Udhampur, three each in Srinagar and Rajouri, two each in Ramban and Kathua and one each in Reasi and Samba.

Also, Kathua houses 27 bars with restaurants, Rajouri 14, Udhampur 12, Poonch 4, Srinagar 2 and Kishtwar and Ramban one-one each.

After having a number of militant attacks on liquor outlets since 1990, Srinagar still has three bars with clubs, Drabu informed while speaking. He also said that there are eight persons having multiple liquor licenses with not more than two.

Image Courtesy – Travel and Leisure Asia