Planning a car-o-bar with friends this Diwali season? Think twice because you could end up paying a hefty fine or even land in jail.

Intensifying its action against the practice of drinking alcohol in public places, the Delhi government has launched a massive drive to nab those who are found violating the excise act. Excise officials said the focus this time will specially be on those found drinking inside cars.

The fine for open drinking is Rs 5,000. But, if an offender is found creating nuisance then the fine becomes double along with three months in jail. Those who spot such activities can also lodge a complaint by calling on 011-23370262 between 10 am and 10 pm, the excise department said.

“After our first massive drive in 2016, the practice of drinking in places such parks, under flyovers and any isolated spots had reduced largely. But, most of it shifted to people parking their cars around liquor vends, takeaway joints and drinking inside their vehicles — a trend which picks up around Diwali. This will not be tolerated anymore. Anyone found indulging in such activity will be fined or arrested or both,” said Amjad Tak, excise commissioner.

On day one of the drive itself, the department arrested 35 people and registered 18 cases. The violators were aged between 25 and 43. Out of 35, as many as 10 people were apprehended for drinking around liquor vends in Kalkaji, Seempuri and Sagarpur, states the action report taken. “Five others were picked up from colony markets in areas such as Netaji Subhash Place and Prashant Vihar. Over half a dozen people were arrested from around take-aways in Okhla, Karol Bagh and Anand Vihar,” an official said.

Tak said the drive will continue throughout the month and if needed, it could be extended as well. To conduct the drive, the commissioner has formed 10 teams, all of whom will be accompanied by police officials.

In the past two years, the government has apprehended 3,291 people for public consumption of liquor and 1,788 cases have been registered. Consuming liquor in the open is banned in the national Capital under section 40A of the Delhi Excise Act, 2009.

Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia has also directed the department to run an intensive awareness campaign to dissuade people from drinking in public places. “We have prepared radio ads, hoardings and advertisements to be put out in the news media to spread awareness on the issue. This ad campaign will begin from this weekend,” an excise official said.

The Delhi police too have been simultaneously conducting such drives. According to police records, more than 18,000 persons have been booked over the past one year with the highest numbers coming from areas such as Shahdara and Dwarka.

In September, the Delhi government had directed liquor vends to deploy adequate number of guards to curb open drinking near the outlets. It had also directed these establishments to install CCTV cameras that can capture footage within 50 metres.

First Published: Nov 03, 2018 07:48 IST

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