Liquor in GIFT City: Congress, AAP slam BJP govt over decision

The state government, on Friday, lifted the ban on liquor in the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City with the aim of providing a "global ecosystem".

Ahmedabad: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the opposition Congress clashed on Saturday, December 23, over the Gujarat government’s decision a day earlier to allow liquor in Gujarat City, which partially overturned the state’s strict prohibition policy.

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The state government, on Friday, lifted the ban on liquor in the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City with the aim of providing a “global ecosystem”.

While the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party said it was an unfortunate decision that would ruin the youth, the BJP said it would provide a proper environment for the development of business in the region.

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“This is a very unfortunate decision. The BJP government wants to lift prohibition in the state, and they have started it with GIFT City. Tomorrow they will say they want to lift the liquor ban at the Statue of Unity (in Kevadia) and Tent City of Dhordo in Kutch to attract tourists as well as the Surat Diamond Bourse,” Leader of Opposition Amit Chavda said.

“This will ruin the youth. Those who drink and come out of Gift City will cause accidents and may harm our women. Do they (the government) think lifting the liquor ban will attract investment?” he questioned.

Congress MLA Ganiben Thakor said the decision must be withdraw n immediately in order to maintain law and order and the dignity of women, adding that people will go to GIFT City to drink instead of going outside Gujarat.

Umesh Makwana, the AAP MLA from Botad, wrote to Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, seeking withdrawal of the decision to lift prohibition in GIFT City.

Countering these arguments, state minister Rushikesh Patel said the decision was taken for industry players who are coming from outside the state.

“This is a decision to provide the same lifestyle to business leaders that they are used to in places where there is no liquor ban. Many foreign companies that have come to Gift City are part of Fortune 500+ companies. Let the Congress say what they want to, but they will later understand the importance of this decision,” Patel asserted.

In a statement on Friday, the Gujarat prohibition department said GIFT City has emerged as a global financial and technological hub that is bustling with economic activities.

“An important decision has been taken on Friday to change rules to allow ‘wine and dine’ facilities in the GIFT City area to provide a global business ecosystem to global investors, technical experts, and national and international companies,” it said.

Under the new system, hotels, restaurants, and clubs (existing and that will come up) in the GIFT City area will be given permits for wine and dine facilities, but they will not be allowed to sell liquor bottles to people, as the statement pointed out.

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