Ahmedabad: Amidst the charged narrative on prohibition, the Gujarat government on Thursday approved an ordinance proposing stringent action against bootleggers, tipplers, and unscrupulous officials who help criminals escape raids on liquor dens in the "dry state".
The ordinance, seeking to make necessary amendments in the current Gujarat Prohibition Act, was approved in the Cabinet meeting today.
Some of its key provisions include a significant increase in the penalty as well as jail term for those involved in the purchase, sale, and transportation of liquor.
Now, accused in such cases would face up to 10 years in jail and fine of Rs 5 lakh instead of the three-year punishment under the current Act, stated a government release.
Similarly, the liquor den operators, as well as those helping them, would face imprisonment up to 10 years.
In another major amendment, people who create a ruckus or harass others in an inebriated condition would face a jail term up to three years, but not less than one year.
Currently, the punishment for such behaviour is just one to three months in jail and a fine of Rs 200-Rs 500.
As per the ordinance, the officials found guilty of helping bootleggers escape raids would attract a punishment of seven years in jail and Rs 1 lakh fine.
Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja said the vehicles used in transporting liquor would be confiscated permanently by the government under the new provisions.
In November, the state government had promised to make the current Liquor Prohibition Act stricter by introducing necessary amendments.
The announcement came against the backdrop of a meeting between government and the representatives of OBC leader Alpesh Thakor who had threatened to gherao the state Assembly seeking stricter prohibition laws on the lines of Bihar.
The protest was called off on government's assurance.