Delhi government is bringing in a bill that would provide for a hefty fine of Rs. 50,000 and a non-bailable jail term for consuming alcohol at a public place, a move that may dampen spirits stirred by the decision to allow sale of liquor in shopping malls.

The move, part of government’s new excise bill, will be introduced in the winter session of the Delhi Assembly, Finance minister A K Walia told PTI. He said the move is to check drinking alcohol at public places as hefty financial penalty and a six month non-bailable jail term will act as a deterrent. At present the legislation provides for a fine of Rs 200 and it is a bailable offence.

“I am confident that the strict punishments will deter people from consuming alcohol at public places,” Mr. Walia said. “We have allowed sale of liquor at shopping malls. But it does not mean that we will take a lenient approach against those who consume alcohol at public places,” Mr. Walia added.

On giving license to shopping malls to sell liquor, he said all such places in the city having a floor area of 1,000 square foot will be permitted to sell liquor. Approving a new excise policy, Delhi Cabinet last week had cleared a proposal to allow sale of liquor in malls. Mr. Walia said, the government will also allow setting up of new outlets for sale of liquor, keeping in view the changing realities of the capital city, like forthcoming Commonwealth Games.

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