In a significant move, the Gujarat government announced on Friday the lifting of the ban on liquor in the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City), exempting it from the statewide prohibition. Gujarat, the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi, has maintained a ban on the manufacture, storage, sale, and consumption of alcoholic beverages since its formation. The decision to exempt GIFT City from the prohibition is a first in the state’s history and is aimed at fostering a global business environment. GIFT City has evolved into a global financial and technological hub, attracting substantial economic activities. The move aims to enhance facilities for global investors, technical experts, and national and international companies operating in GIFT City. According to the state prohibition department’s statement, the new rules will allow “wine and dine” facilities in the GIFT City area, news agency PTI reported. Hotels, restaurants, and clubs, both existing and forthcoming, will be granted permits for wine and dine services, but they will not be permitted to sell liquor bottles to customers. The relaxation is designed to cater to the needs of those working in GIFT City and their official guests. “Liquor access permits will be given to owners and employees of companies in the GIFT City, and temporary permits will be given to their visitors who can go to such hotels and restaurants to consume alcohol,” the statement explained, as quoted by PTI. The state prohibition and excise department will oversee the regulation of the import, storage, and sale of liquor in GIFT City. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(“div-gpt-ad-6601185-5”); }); While visitors to Gujarat currently can purchase liquor from authorised outlets by obtaining a temporary permit, this exemption is seen as a specific measure to meet the demands of the rapidly growing GIFT City. ALSO READ | Delhi Pollution: Ban On Plying Of BS III Petrol, BS IV Diesel Vehicles As GRAP-3 Curbs Return Congress Slams Govt Govt’s Move To End Liquor Prohibition In GIFT City The decision, however, faced opposition from the Congress party. “In Gandhinagar’s GIFT City, the alcohol ban is being lifted, and it’s been decided to remove the prohibition. Now people will consume it, and it will impact Gujarat in a negative way. No idea what kind of profit the Gujarat government is seeing in this,” Rajya Sabha MP and Gujarat Congress President Shaktisinh Gohil said, as per PTI. Congress leader Manish Doshi expressed concerns about the impact of free access to liquor on families and social fabric. He told PTI, “Look at the situation of women in the states where liquor is freely available. Families are getting destroyed. Liquor not only damages health but it also disturbs social fabric.” Another Congress leader, Hiren Banker, accused the BJP government of double standards, arguing that by legalising the sale and consumption of liquor in Gujarat, the government is not upholding the principles of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel and is avoiding the proper implementation of prohibition. Previously, Surat’s DREAM City, home to the recently inaugurated diamond bourse, also sought an exemption from the state’s prohibition. Former Chief Minister Shankarsinh Vaghela had earlier advocated for lifting the ban on liquor in the state.

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