Assam cabinet approves online sale of liquor in Guwahati | Guwahati News


GUWAHATI: The Assam cabinet on Wednesday took several key decisions, including approval to sell liquor through online platform in Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) areas amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“During the Covid time, we have seen a huge rush in front of liquor shops in the evening or at the time of closure. Showing respect to Supreme Court and Madras high court’s takeaway orders in this regard, our cabinet has given approval to sell liquor online,” cabinet minister Keshab Mahanta said in a news conference.
He said the plan is for one month and the online sale will be an experiment initially.
“Only if it works without problems, it will continue,” he said.
A formal government notification will be published soon, Mahanta said, adding that the detailed guidelines will be finalised by the state excise department. “Our cabinet, on principle has decided to give assent to online sale of liquor,” he added.
The cabinet also decided to merge the Guwahati development department and urban development department to constitute the housing and urban affairs department on the lines of the Union ministry with similar nomenclature. This, Mahanta said, will help in smooth flow of funds from the Centre for urban development.
In another unification move, the general administration department (GAD) and secretariat administration departments will now be known as GAD.
The state cabinet chaired by chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma also took a decision to provide relief to the tea garden workers under MGNREGA during winter, when a major chunk of them have little work .
“During winter, the tea garden workers will be brought under guaranteed employment scheme as part of MGNREGA. Roads can be constructed, ponds can be dug or any other such work can be undertaken according to needs in tea gardens,” Mahanta said.
He said a decision was taken to prioritise pond digging in the villages as well under MGNREGA, which will also cover plantation of agarwood, sandalwood and other valuable trees to strengthen the rural economy.
Guardian ministers of the districts, block development officers and officials concerned will plan accordingly so that the schemes fit the local environment needs, Mahanta said.
He said the cabinet has given its nod to develop buildings of schools, Anganwadi kendras and construct parks in the villages with financial allotments under the 15th Finance Commission.
The Assam Institute of Research for Tribal and Scheduled Caste will be activated to initiate research on tribal and SC-related issues.
Golaghat and Sarupathar circles in upper Assam have been declared drought-hit and the chief minister has instructed revenue minister Jogen Mahan and irrigation minister Ashok Singhal to visit the areas. Mahanta said alongwith the state finance minister, the revenue and irrigation minister will assess the ground situation and recommend assistance as per the Disaster Management Act.
Moreover, the over 100-year-old Chief Justice’s building on the banks of the Brahmaputra in Guwahati has been declared a heritage building, which will get a facelift and be preserved. “The Chief Justice will continue to stay in the building at present but in the future we will preserve it as a heritage building only,” Mahanta said.

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