Highway liquor ban dips sale by 18% in Pune district
Around 65 % establishments in Maharashtra were affected by the order initially though in the later stage, civic bodies denotified the highways in their territory, opening shutters of the liquor serving establishments.pune Updated: Jul 20, 2017 12:58 IST
More than three months after alcohol was banned alongside highways, alcohol consumption for Pune district has dropped by 18% since April compared to the corresponding period last year.
The drop in sale, which the excise department says is equivalent to consumption, is less than expected given that Pune has been worst hit by the ban with 1600 establishments out of total 2,500 centres in the district affected by the diktat.
According to figures given by the State Excise Department, sale of country liquor is during April to June compared to same period last year is down by around 22 % while sale of Indian Manufactured Foreign Liquor (IMFL) has seen a decline of 12%. The sale of beer has been down by 17.68% while that of wine has witnessed fall of around 21%. The same of all four categories during April to June last year had seen rise of 12% compared to same period in 2015, said excise department.
In the state, sale of alcohol witnessed fall of 17% with beer taking maximum hit. Around 65 % establishments in Maharashtra were affected by the order initially though in the later stage, civic bodies denotified the highways in their territory, opening shutters of the liquor serving establishments.
“If you compare the consumption of liquor since April till June to the same period last year, the consumption has come down by around 18%. The revenue hasn’t seen decline as the state excise department collects revenue from the manufacturing units, which produce liquor three to four months in advance and pay duty in advance,” Mohan Varde, Superintendent of Excise (Pune), told Hindustan Times.
As per the Supreme Court directions, sale and consumption of liquor within 500 metres along the state or national highways has been banned from April 1.
In the corporation limits of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, around 600 establishments have stopped serving liquor due to the SC ban. Post May, the State Excise in different operations further shut down liquor serving establishments in areas such as Jungli Maharaj Road, Fergusson College Road, and Bund Garden area, bringing 15 roads under the ban.
While the ban has caused inconvenience to tipplers, there is a brighter side with number of fatal road accidents on various state and national highways in the state during April and May have come down to 2071 from 2314 during the corresponding year last year. According to state highway police, number of fatal accidents during April and May last year were 1080 and 1234 respectively. This year in April and May, number of fatal accidents were 960 and 1111 respectively. The number of fatal accidents during the same period in 2015 were 1072 and 1229 respectively.
“There is definitely a fall in number of fatal accidents. Whether they are because of alcohol ban on highway or other reasons needs to be checked independently at case to case basis,” said Vijay Patil, Superintendent of Police, State Highway Police.
With no respite in sign in near future, as many as 150 liquor establishments from the district have applied for permission from the State Excise Department to carry out their business from another location unaffected by the SC ban. “We have received application from 150 liquor serving establishments seeking permission to shift the location of their business. The Excise department has granted permission to 25 such establishments while other applications are being considered,” said Varde.
According to Varde, around 15 hoteliers have changed the approach road to their establishments to ensure they do not fall in 500 meters limit and escape the ban. “These hoteliers closed their front entry gate and instead opened it from the back,” said Varde.
Meanwhile the Pune Municipal Commissioner’s letter to Public Works Department to denotify highways passing through Pune has evoked no action so far. The PMC Commissioner Kunal Kumar on May 12 wrote to PWD chief engineer asking him to take appropriate action. However, the PWD has not initiated the process to declassify the roads, said sources. Sale of alcohol during April, May and June this year compared to same period last year has seen drop of 18%
Sale of country liquor is down by around 22 %
Sale of Indian Manufactured Foreign Liquor is down by 12%.
Sale of beer is down by 17.68%
Sale of wine is down by 21%.
State Excise department has received 150 applications for shifting location after being hit by SC order
The State Excise department has already given permission to 25 liquor establishments to shift location
Around 15 hoteliers have changed the approach road to their establishments to ensure they do not fall in 500 meters limit.