Mumbai, May 21:
In response to pleas from a hospitality association, the Maharashtra Excise dept has decided to allow hotels and bars to sell their stocks of perishable Indian Made foreign liquor (IMFL) to wine shops, so that the hoteliers could recover the loss to some extemt.
In an order issued by Maharashtra Principal Secretary (Excise) Valsa Nair Singh, the department has permitted establishments holding FL3 licences to sell stocks of imported beer and wine to wine shops. However, the establishments will have to apply for special transport passes from local authorities in order to complete these transactions.
As per the ongoing lockdown rules, hotels, bars and restaurants are barred from selling liquor to valid permit holders for consumption on premises. “The exemption from the lockdown rules, which have ordered bars, hotels and restaurants to remain shut, will remain in force until the lockdown ends or until stocks last”, states the order. Singh said that the exemption was aimed at ensuring that stocks of perishable liquor do not expire. “We are trying to make it easier for establishments to sell their stocks,” she said.
However, Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI), described the order as “illogical”. “Why would wine shops want to buy liquor from us when they have greater sales than we do? We will have to sell our stocks to them at MRP or less,” he said and added that establishments would be reluctant to get into the process of applying for transport passes. This order is a knee-jerk reaction to what we had asked for. We will write to the Excise department asking what this order means”.
The Maharashtra government on Tuesday announced that it will allow liquor shops to provide home delivery services subject to conditions for both the buyer and the seller. This scheme would be applicable to only those who have permits to consume alcohol. However, the order, issued by the state home department, will come into effect only after guidelines are finalised.
Only those who have permit for drinking can order home delivery. Liquor shops which have been allowed to reopen since 5 May, will be able to take orders on phone. The purpose is to avoid crowding at liquor stores and prevent the spread of coronavirus.
“The mode of payment has to be decided by the buyer and the seller. A person can order up to 12 IMFL (Indian-Made Foreign Liquor) bottles,” an official said and added that the rules regarding possession of various types of liquor at home are displayed on the Excise department’s website which buyers can check before ordering.
The decision comes after social distancing norms were flouted at several liquor shops that amid the lock down.
Raju Vernekar is a Media Professional based in Mumbai and is a regular contributor of Imphal Times. He had served as Chief Reporter at Free Press Journal (1996 – 2015 ). His Activities includes writing for different news papers, script writing/production for TV channels, Films Division. Writing poems in Marathi, Hindi, English, Guiding mass media students and helping people to solve their problems. Raju may be contacted at [email protected]
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