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Maharashtra govt may restrict timings of liquor shops



MUMBAI: Even as the state government has received Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao’s assent to a Bill that allows shops and establishments to operate round the clock, the government is now considering putting restrictions on timings to run liquor-related businesses, instead of allowing them for 24 hours.

Officials from the labour department said the move comes after the police authorities raised the issue of law and order problems and suggested certain restrictions on running the liquor-related businesses such as wine shops, beer bars, permit rooms and star hotels. “The law and order problems were raised by the police authorities in meetings with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who has agreed to certain restrictions,” said an official, adding that it is possible existing timings are likely to be retained in the notification likely to be issued soon.

“There have been some suggestions from the police authorities on putting restrictions on the liquor-related businesses and the suggestions are being considered,” said Rajesh Kumar, principal secretary in the labour department. Kumar said the draft notification has been prepared and sent to the law and judiciary department.
Sources said the labour department was of the view the amendments in the shops and establishments Act are made keeping in mind the welfare of labourers. “The restrictions on liquor businesses can be imposed through other laws such as the Bombay Police Act, Bombay Prohibition Act, Criminal Procedure Code or from the excise department. The labour department felt the shops and establishments Act is not the only law for imposing such restrictions,” said a source.

Sources pointed out that if the restrictions are imposed on the liquor-related businesses under the Act, then it will be applicable to establishments having 10 and more workers. “It means that the Act will not be applicable to the establishments having less than 10 workers and most wine shops normally have less than 10 workers. So, it may create division among the liqour-related businesses,” added the source.

In August, both the Houses of the state legislature had cleared the Maharashtra Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2017 that allows keeping shops open 24×7. The Maharashtra Governor gave his assent to the Bill in September and the notification is likely to be issued soon.
The provisions of the new Act will apply to shops, residential hotels, restaurants, theatres and amusement places to which the provisions of the Factories Act do not apply. It also applies to establishments, which include businesses involved in banking, stocks, medical practice, architects, engineers, accountants, tax consultants and professional consultants.

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