Previously, the application for licence renewal came to the excise commissioner through the district magistrates.
Kolkata: In a bid to speed up the process of the granting and renewal of licenses, the state government has empowered the excise commissioner to directly issue licenses after the verification of the liquor shops that will apply for licenses abiding by the Supreme Court order.
Previously, the application for license renewal came to the excise commissioner through the district magistrates.
The excise commissioner, after verification, would pass it over to the DM again who will finally grant the license, thereby consuming a lot of time in the process.
State principal secretary excise H. K. Dwivedi held a meeting with excise commissioner and top officials of the revenue section recently at the state secretariat Nabanna to fast track the process of granting and renewal of licenses. The meeting followed the recent Supreme Court’s modification of its order banning liquor vends within 500 metres on national and state highways, reducing the distance to 220 metres in areas having a population of up to 20,000.
“ For the time being, the state government will also waive the license fee for the shops that are located within 220 and 500 metres of the state highways. The license fee waiver will also apply to those shops who will apply for fresh licenses after shifting above 500 metres of the state highways thereby obeying the apex court’s verdict,” an excise official said.
In case of the liquor units located on the national highways, the excise commissioner can directly grant the license if they apply after abiding by the SC norms.
The district magistrates have been directed to submit a list of liquor shops in their respective areas and identify the roads that can be further denotified to bypass the SC order of banning liquor outlets within 500 metre radius of state highways (SH) and national highways (NH).
The Mamata Banerjee government has already denotified a stretch of 277.3 kilometres as “Arterial Road”. Among the 277.3 km road that has been denotified, the North 24 Parganas has 69 km while Hooghly has 40 km.
The state government had also earlier denotified two stretches of state highways namely the EM Bypass and the VIP Road.and thus saved some leading luxury hotels from coming under the purview of the apex court’s order.
The state has around 5,500 liquor shops and bars of which 2,140 were affected by the order.
“The loss in the state exchequer would have been Rs 2400 crores. However, denotifying the state highways will open up nearly 1200 shops and will bring down the loss to around Rs 1000 crore. The decision will also bring down the revenue loss to a reasonable extent" the official said.