Till last year, New Year’s Eve meant an assortment of alcohol for Taran Khetawat’s family. But this year, alcohol dropped off the menu of their house party because of the numerous permits required.
The procedure to get a permit is arduous — a licence from the collector’s office. Even guests at the party who would fancy a drink need a liquor permit. And if you didn’t have a permit, you could be fined up to Rs50,000 or even be sent to jail. Anybody who is more than 25 years old needs to apply to an excise officer, not below the rank of a sub-inspector, for a permit.
“When we learned that we needed permits to serve alcohol, we decided to avoid the hassle and have an alcohol-free party,” said Khetwat, a Goregaon resident. The alcohol was substituted with mocktails and soft drinks. “There were several cases of police raids and drink-driving last year, so we decided to be more responsible and have a pleasant family time,” he added.
On Monday, guests at a house party in Sewri were welcomed with iced tea. “I had decided not to organise any New Year parties with alcohol because of the number of restrictions,” said party planner Vanita Rodrigues. “Since the hosts wanted a different theme to their party, I suggested an alcohol-free, fruit drink-based theme, which they liked.”