There won’t be a ban on the sale of liquor anytime soon, said the state government on Friday. After chief minister Nitish Kumar announced an alcohol ban in Bihar, there were talks of a similar ban being enforced in Maharashtra.
However, the Maharashtra government has said such a ban was not likely to be enforced in the state as it earns hefty revenue from taxes and duties on liquor sales.
“The state earns revenue of nearly Rs18,000 crore only from the taxes and duties imposed on liquor sale. Hence, it will not be possible for the government to ban alcohol sale. Prohibiting the sale of alcohol will only possible if it the government finds an alternate source of revenue to replace the funds it gets from taxes on liquor,” state revenue and excise minister Eknath Khadse said on Friday.
The demand for a blanket ban on liquor sale across the state started gaining momentum after the Bihar government decided to ban liquor in the state from April 1.
Social activist Abhay Bang, legislators Ashish Deshmukh of the BJP and Neelam Gorhe of the Shiv Sena have also demanded a prohibition of liquor sale in the state. However, Khadse said, “At least for this fiscal, it will not be possible to impose a ban. The financial condition of the state is very fragile.”
After taking over the reins of the state, the Fadnavis government had imposed a ban on liquor sale in Chandrapur, Vidarbha, which resulted in a loss of Rs300 crore to the state government. Wardha and Gadchiroli, too, have legally prohibited the sale of liquor in the regions for the past few years.
Minister of state for excise Dilip Kamble clarified on Friday that there was no immediate proposal to enforce a state-wide ban on the sale of liquor. Kamble, however, directed the administration to simplify the process to enable women to pass a resolution in the local bodies on the ban on liquor sale at the village level. If a majority of the women vote in favour of this resolution, liquor sale will be banned in villages.