.........SAMBALPUR: Even as the Supreme Court has set March 31 deadline to shift all liquor shops within 500 metres of National and State highways, protests are building up in residential areas where liquor shops are likely to be relocated.
All the liquor shops, which were operating from busy market area, will now be closer to residential areas. The liquor vendors have managed to get space after paying hefty rent to relocate their shops, but this has posed problems for the land owners who are facing protests from local villagers.
According to sources, people of Kainsir, Baraipali and Gobindtola, which will be affected by the relocation of liquor shops, have already petitioned the District Collector and the Excise Superintendent to find alternative sites to locate the shops. They cited that presence of liquor shops will lead to brawl and harassment of women.
People of Baraipali said both IMFL shops and country liquor brewing units are being shifted to Dengsargi road which is nodal road for the people of Dengsargi, Makhnapada, Nirgundipada, Sukhapada, Gadmunda, Ranibandh, Budhakanta and Dengimocha. They have threatened to launch an agitation if a decision is not taken at the earliest to relocate the shops. Meanwhile, the youths are visiting various areas to mobilise public opinion and are planning to stage demonstration in a big way.
Similar reports have also been received from Bargarh, Jharsuguda and Boudh where women are trying to garner public support to prevent relocation of the shops in their localities.
Sambalpur Excise Superintendent Sammuel Ekka said, “We would visit the spot of relocation before giving a final nod. Grievances of people have also been sought and the Department would take decision judiciously.”