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Nepali gov't curtails booze sale
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15:15, November 18, 2008

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The sale of alcoholic drinks and tobacco products in Nepal will be curtailed from Tuesday, local media reported.

If the government strictly enforces its plan to regulate their sale, it won't be possible to buy liquor without providing proof of age, and adults can buy alcohol only from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (0415-1615 GMT), eKantipur.com website reported.

In its drive to control vice and also increase revenue, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)-led government has said alcohol and tobacco products cannot henceforth be sold in shops without special permission from authorities.

If shops are found selling these products from Tuesday without a license that has to be renewed annually, they will face stiff fines.

Till now, liquor has been freely available even in grocery stores throughout the country and there is no drinking age limit.

Department stores and groceries will have to construct a separate section to display their liquor and tobacco products, according to the new regulation.

On Monday, a large number of businessmen thronged the internal revenue offices in the capital Kathmandu to get license. They expressed mixed reactions to this government move.

While some complained they were not fully aware of the documents needed for the purpose, others said the government decision was taken in haste without consulting concerned stakeholders. They also said they were not given sufficient time to arrange a separate liquor section. Others believe the new regulation will bring about irregularities and promote black marketeers.

Director General of Internal Revenue Investigation Department Tanka Mani Pokharel said the implementation part would be strictly monitored under a regulatory framework from Tuesday.

"However, we hope the people will cooperate with us as they have overwhelmingly extended support with regard to this issue," said Pokharel.


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