The Fact News Service
Chandigarh, May 28
Punjab Finance, Planning, Excise and Taxation Minister Advocate Harpal Singh Cheema on Sunday said that the Excise department has carried out a massive state-wide Liquor Bar’s Checking and monitoring operation code named as “Night Sweep” last Saturday night. He said that during this operation, the compliance of various laws by Bars, Pubs and Restaurants of Mohali, Jalandhar and Amritsar area were also checked by the teams during night time and on the spot action was taken against the violators as per provisions of law.
Divulging further, the Excise and Taxation Minster Advocate Harpal Singh Cheema said that this special drive was launched to check the menace of smoking ‘Hookahs’ and other illegal activities in the Bars, Pubs and Restaurants. He said that more than 13 teams swung into action last Saturday night under the direct supervision of Financial Commissioner Taxation Vikas Partap and Excise Commissioner Varun Roojam.
Giving details of the operation, the Excise and Taxation Minister said that in SAS Nagar (Mohali) district’s Nayagaon area, one Restaurant namely ‘I love Hot shot’ was found serving ‘Hookahs’ to its customers for smoking along with Beer which was meant for sale in Chandigarh only, thereby violating various provisions of law. During the search of the restaurant, 20 Hookahs, 07 Bottles of Beer, various tobacco flavors and charcoal were confiscated. In this case FIR No 40 dated 28.05.2023 has been registered against owners of the restaurant under various provisions of The Punjab Excise Act 1914, The Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products Act 2003, Poison Act 1919 and Indian Penal Code 1860 at Police Station Nayagaon, Mohali. In addition to it, in Bestech Mall, Sector 66 Mohali, three bars namely, ‘Burj’ (W White Hospitality), ‘Skull’ (Friend’s Hospitality) and ‘Mask Lounge & Bars’ were found carrying out their operations beyond permitted timings. Resultantly, penal action has been initiated against these violating Bars as per relevant provisions of the Punjab Excise Act 1914 and the Punjab Liquor License Rules 1956.
Disclosing further, he said that in Amritsar a bar namely ‘Peddlers Bar’ was found operating beyond permitted time limit and was also serving the liquor to persons below 25 years of age. During a search of the bar, 17 bottles of non-duty paid liquor and 05 bottles of expired Beer were also found which were confiscated on the spot. “Similarly, in Jalandhar, a bar namely ‘Peddlers’ was found operating beyond permitted time limit. During a search of the bar, 03 bottles of expired Beer were also found which were confiscated on the spot. Due to these violations, strict penal action against the bar has been initiated under relevant provisions of the Law”, he added.
The Minister said that the Excise teams on the ground were led by the Additional Commissioner (Excise) Naresh Dubey and AIG (Excise) Gurjot Singh along with other senior officers of the department. “The officers of the Health department were also roped in. Each team had at least one lady officer and one Health department’s representative in it”, he added.
Highlighting the significance of operation ‘Night Sweep’, Advocate Harpal Singh Cheema said that this operation of the Excise department was aimed at the checking of smoking of Hookas at Bars and Restaurants considering the detrimental effects of smoking these hookahs on health, which contains harmful substances such as nicotine, known to be carcinogenic. “Also, the charcoal used for burning of tobacco in hookahs produces smoke that contains not only carbon monoxide but also other cancer-causing chemicals and metals, because the water used for filtering the smoke is actually not able to arrest these hazardous chemicals. The sharing of the same device among multiple smokers increases the risk of transmitting various infectious diseases”, he added.
Reiterating the Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann led Punjab Government’s committed to provide bright future for the young generation of the State, Mr. Harpal Singh Cheema said that the state government has adopted zero tolerance policy towards illegal activities of all kinds. He further added that this crusade of the Excise department against Hookah bars and other such illegal activities will be further accelerated in future. He issued stern warning to all those involved in these illegal activities and emphasized that Strict action will be taken against them and no violator will be spared.