DEHRADUN: Uttarakhand government has banned sale of alcohol in 8 religious areas including Char Dham on Thursday. A government order issued through a notification stated that no liquor shop will be allowed within limits of 1.6 kms municipal limits of the religious places like Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Nanakmatta, Puran Kaliyar, Hemkund Sahib, Reetha Sahib and Purnagiri. Haridwar and Rishikesh are already dry areas of the state.
Madan Kaushik, state cabinet minister and spokesperson of the government said, "The decision is taken to maintain the sanctity of the religious shrines and towns. Our government is committed to the welfare and well being of the people of the state."
Sources from the government also added that the decision has been taken in the wake of Uttarakhand Hugh court's direction in August this year.
Uttarakhand high court, in August this year directed the state government to frame policy within the period of six months for alcohol ban in the hill state under the ambit of law.
The court also directed the state government to implement rules which call for a ban on the sale of alcohol to those under 21 years of age.
A public interest litigation filed by DK Joshi, a resident of Garud in Bageshwar district alleged that sale of alcohol is affecting lives of the people of the state in an adverse manner.
The petitioner also added that drinking alcohol is a social evil which is causing breakdown of families including deaths by accidents, diseases and many other reasons due to consumption of alcohol.
The petitioner added that despite adopting the same act after becoming a new state, the Uttarakhand government did not implement any of these amendments for prohibiting abuse of alcohol.
The petitioner also alleged that the state government permitted trade of liquor in the hill state of Uttarakhand for generating revenue, but at the same time no policy as such prevent abuse of alcohol is in place till date. The decision was welcomed by residents of the hill state.
Sanjana Mehta, a resident of Dehradun whose native village is in Badrinath said, "The decision will further safeguard the religious values of our shrines of non-consumption of alcohol. However, the ban was already in the temple area. Now the whole town will come under it."