Revellers, rejoice. The state government has decided to relax the deadline for the sale and consumption of liquor at hotels and restaurants this year-end. The state excise department, in its circular, has allowed hotels to operate till 5am on three days— December 24, 25 and 31.
While welcoming the announcement, the Indian Hotels and Restaurants Association (AHAR) has said that getting police permission may still be problematic. “The excise department, for years, has always allowed us to stay open late for these three days, but police do not allow us to operate after 1.30am,” said Adarsh Shetty, president, AHAR.
“In the last two years, the police had given the green light only for December 31, and did not allow bars to operate beyond regular timings on December 24 and 25. We have been repeatedly asking them to give us an exemption even for these days,” he said.
This effectively means that the extension will be of no use without the police department’s approval.
The Hotels and Restaurants Association of Western India (HRWAI) has claimed that relaxed timings play a big role in boosting tourism. “People want to enjoy on the festive occasions, and hence it is imperative that timings should be extended. It will also add revenue to the state exchequer,” said Kamlesh Barot, ex-president, HRWAI. The HRWAI has been demanding a blanket deadline, which will do away with the need for issuing notifications every year on these three days.
In the last few years, people have been celebrating these days with fervour.
Many frequent hotels and restaurants, while others organise events in their colonies or get-togethers in their homes.