Hundreds of watering holes, clubs and pubs went dry and others were sealed as authorities went full steam to implement the Supreme Court order banning liquor sale along highways.
Enforcing the order, the state excise department has sealed 225 bars in hotels, restaurants and clubs in Rajasthan since April 1. In Jaipur city and rural, around 39 bars have been close, which include luxury hotels such as Le Meridian, Shiv Vilas and Fair Mont.
The excise department has also closed bars at Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation’s 11 hotels.
A senior excise official, the condition of anonymity, said, “After the Supreme Court’s order, we had asked our district excise officers not to renew bar licences of hotels, restaurants and clubs on highways. Thereafter, from April 1, action against bars had been started – we are sealing bars, canceling their licence and seizing liquor.”
The maximum numbers of bars were closed in Sikar—17 bars were closed here. It was followed by 15 in Kota, 16 in Alwar, 13 in Bikaner, 13 in Ajmer, 13 in Jhunjhunu and 10 in Sirohi.
Hotel and Restaurant Association of Rajasthan president Kuldeep Singh said, “The decision will lead to huge losses not just for the hotels but also the government. The government should appeal in court. Beside revenue loss, thousands will also be unemployed. This decision will affect around 25% of the hotel revenue.”
The excise department in Rajasthan has provided a total of 790 bar licenses –including bar trains (70); heritage hotel (67); other hotel (506); club (22) and restaurant (125).
In December 2016, the apex court decided that the presence of shops and restaurants selling alcohol near highways was leading to drunken driving and also fatal road accidents. So it banned them.