The Manohar Lal Khattar government in Haryana is anxious about the “adverse impact” of the Supreme Court’s booze-banning order on the lifestyle of Gurugram-based global manpower.
Also, another worry of the first-ever saffron party government in the state is that the restrictions on spirit consumption will hit hard the so far thriving hospitality sector and impact beyond repair the buoyancy in the direct and indirect tax targets.
The top court’s ruling bans liquor shops—in high end hotels, pubs, and other watering holes—within 500 metres of the state and national highways.
As a result, 106 of the total 292 bars of the cyber hub Gurugram fall in the danger zone and face the risk of being sealed, according to official records.
Haryana has 478 licensed bars and 194 bars, including Gurugram, have been affected by the apex court orders. Six districts—Fatehabad, Jind, Kaithal, Kurukshetra, Palwal, and Sirsa—are the worst hit as all the sanctioned bars come within the ambit of court ruling and stand closed.
Not this, Sonepat and Rewari districts are left with two bars each, while Panipat and Rohtak with four bars each and Ambala district with three bars. In Faridabad district of the total 44 bars, 14 are in the danger zone.
“I am concerned about the adverse impact on the lifestyle in the state, especially on the 6% of the global manpower in Gurugram who will be adversely affected by the apex court (booze ban) order which we are implementing in letter and spirit,” Captain Abhimanyu, finance, excise and taxation minister told Hindustan Times.
“Tourism will be hit hard. People from over 50 countries live and visit Haryana. I am worried about the overall impact.”
Haryana garners about 30% of its excise collections from Gurugram and Faridabad.
According to Sameer Pal Srow, managing director, Haryana tourism corporation, at least 50% of the total 42 government-run tourist complexes are along the national highways. “Huge revenue loss is my concern. We are calculating the financial loss…The hospitality sector that includes the private hoteliers are a worried lot,” Srow, who is also a Faridabad deputy commissioner (DC), said.
There are 21 tourism hubs also created by Haryana tourism across the state and along the state highways for the tourists.
The state has set the target of generating Rs 5,600 crore from excise duty for this fiscal after achieving the target of Rs 4,800 crore it had set for the previous fiscal.
By March 29, over 90% liquor vends had been auctioned across the state under a smartly crafted policy and in line with the December 15, 2016, apex court ruling, government sources say.
In a departure from allotting vends on the basis of groups, the new liquor policy gives flexibility to vendors to decide location on the basis of zones that comprises six retail vends. The government has given freedom to the allottees to locate or relocate their vends within the zone. And to plug the bootlegging, two sub-vends per zone were also allotted to open where bootlegging is rampant.
Government sources say despite the court ruling the state will somehow achieve its target of revenue from the excise duty.
According to Captain Abhimanyu, his department is yet to ascertain the total number of bars that will be closed across the state. “Once that is ascertained, only then we will be able to arrive at a conclusion about the impact on revenue,” the minister said.
“Apart from the direct loss to revenue, the indirect revenue loss is equally huge. The VAT collection will be affected adversely.”