Delhi Finance Minister A. K. Walia on Friday said 148 new liquor shops were opened across the Capital in the past five years and as many as 62 have been relocated keeping in mind the sensitivity of the area.

Stating that gradually liquor shops would be moved out of residential areas where they should not be operating, he said it has been clearly laid down in the new Master Plan for Delhi that while government liquor shops should be located in local shopping centres, private vends should operate only out of identified commercial areas or malls.

Speaking during question hour in the Delhi Assembly, the Minister said the norms on where these shops cannot operate even in commercial areas are also very clear. They should be at least 75 metres away from a concrete religious place spread over at least 400 square feet, a middle or senior recognised school or a hospital that has a minimum of 50 beds.

Dr. Walia said strict measures to curb sale of illicit liquor are being brought through the new Delhi Excise Bill-2009 introduced in the House on Thursday. “It prescribes serious punishment for various offences,’’ he said, adding that this would also take care of the nuisance posed by communities engaged in illegal sale of liquor.

Further, when BJP member S. P. Ratawal spoke about alleged evasion of excise by the shop-owners who sell liquor not procured through the legal channel, the Minister said the Excise Information Bureau and the enforcement wing of the Department keep an eye on such activities and any specific complaint can be brought to their notice.

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