You can store only 2, not 12 bottles of country liquor: Maharashtra govt | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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You can store only 2, not 12 bottles of country liquor: Maharashtra govt

Demonetisation has affected liquor sales in the state, but cheap country liquor saw an increase in its sale. After demonetisation, the sale of liquor reduced by 25-30%, state excise department officials said on Tuesday. Significantly, consumption of cheap country liquor has increased by up to 10% during this period, source said.

mumbai Updated: Nov 23, 2016 16:03 IST
Faisal Malik
The liquor sector is not untouched with the problem as the state excise department has observed a significant fall in liquor sales. V Radha, state excise commissioner said the department has noticed a fall in liquor sales.
The liquor sector is not untouched with the problem as the state excise department has observed a significant fall in liquor sales. V Radha, state excise commissioner said the department has noticed a fall in liquor sales. (Hindustan Times)

While the sale of liquor in the state has been falling due to demonetisation, the Maharashtra government has decided to reduce the number of country liquor bottles that can be stored from 12 to 2 at a time, as the government has observed misuse of the old rule by the people. “We have found people selling country liquor on the licence given for consumption with 12 bottles. The order for reducing the number of bottles to two will be issued next week,” state excise minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule told reporters.

Demonetisation has affected liquor sales in the state, but cheap country liquor saw an increase in its sale. After demonetisation, the sale of liquor reduced by 25-30%, state excise department officials said on Tuesday. Significantly, consumption of cheap country liquor has increased by up to 10% during this period, source said. However, in the past three to four months, the department’s revenue had been on the rise with an 8-9% spike in sales. Meanwhile, the state government has also decided to shift all liquor shops out of villages in rural areas.

Read: Bombay HC questions RBI’s, finance ministry’s conflicting demonetisation orders

The central government on November 8 had decided to scrap old high-denomination — Rs500 and Rs1,000 — notes, which led to a shortage of currency across the country.

The liquor sector is not untouched with the problem as the state excise department has observed a significant fall in liquor sales. V Radha, state excise commissioner said the department has noticed a fall in liquor sales.

Read: Demonetisation: the post-Diwali jolt for the real estate sector

“The excise department has observed that the liquor sales have gone down by 25-30% since November 8. This is a trend observed by the department. I don’t have figures as we collect monthly figures for liquor sales,” Radha said.

In case of cheap country liquor, the situation is exactly the opposite. The excise department has noticed a rise in country liquor sales by 5-10% in the past 10-15 days.

The department believes the rise is because of the action initiated against adulterated toddy shops across the state, following which the people have shifted from toddy to country liquor.

Read: Those opposing demonetisation anti-national: Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis

After it was found that pharmaceutical drugs like chloral hydrate and alprazolam is being used in toddy, the excise department started conducting raids in big numbers against illicit toddy. Further, the state excise minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule decided to allow sale of toddy only where it is produced in view of the health hazards. This has resulted in shifting of people from toddy to country liquor as it is much cheaper than liquor, the excise commissioner explained.

Chloral hydrate is used as a sedative and hypnotic drug to treat sleep disorders while alprazolam is used in treating panic and anxiety disorders.

The state government will now reduce permission for preserving country liquor bottles at a time from 12 to 2 at a time. The government has observed misuse of the rule by the people. “We have found people selling country liquor on the licence given for consumption with 12 bottles. The order for reducing the number of bottles to two will be issued next week,” Bawankule told reporters.

Read: Sena calls Sharad Pawar’s criticism of demonetisation ‘two-faced’

The excise department has also decided to allow shifting of liquor shops out of villages on public demand. This will be done if the gram panchayat passes a resolution based on which, orders will be issued by the district collector. “The shop owner has to shift his shop 100 metres away from the last structure of the village within one year. If he fails to do so, his licence will stand cancelled,” the excise minister said.

The excise commissioner said that they have already received Rs7,022 crore as revenue from excise till October. The amount for the same period last year was Rs6,799 crore. The rise in revenue generated is around 8-9%.