Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 21:
To ensure free and fair polls in the forthcoming Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in Odisha, the state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) has directed the state government to take adequate measures for closure of liquor shops in all constituencies two days before the commencement of polls as well as on the counting days.
In a letter to the chief secretary on Thursday, the CEO has asked for strict enforcement of the order.
In the two-phase polls in Odisha scheduled on April 10 and 17, all liquor shops would remain closed on April 9 and 10 for the first phase and on April 16 and 17 for the second phase elections, the letter stated.
Apart from this, the liquor shops would remain closed on the day of counting of votes on May 16 and 17. There would be no consumption of liquor in any hotel and restaurants during these two days, the CEO, in a notification has said.
According to Naba Kumar Nayak, Additional CEO, the state government has been asked to keep a strict vigil on the supply of liquor to the poll notified constituencies from the nearby areas. Steps would be taken to ensure that no one can carry any liquor during these days.
The CEO has directed all liquor shop owners to install CCTV cameras at their shops and keep details on the volume of sale, Nayak added.
He also informed that the Excise commissioner has been appointed as the state nodal officer who would keep watch on the stock, production, bottling and sale of liquor in the state while the Excise superintendents have been appointed as the district level nodal officers to regulate the sale of liquor in their respective districts.