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  Metros   Mumbai  06 May 2017  Booze revenue up by 11 per cent despite Supreme Court ban

Booze revenue up by 11 per cent despite Supreme Court ban

THE ASIAN AGE. | SHRUTI GANAPATYE
Published : May 6, 2017, 3:38 am IST
Updated : May 6, 2017, 3:38 am IST

Officials from the excise department confirmed the rise in revenue but failed to ascertain the cause.

The state collected Rs 759 crore in April 2017, while in April 2016, revenue from the sale of liqour was Rs 680 crore.
 The state collected Rs 759 crore in April 2017, while in April 2016, revenue from the sale of liqour was Rs 680 crore.

Mumbai: Even as the Supreme Court banned the sale of liquor within a radius of  500 metres of national highways from April 1, the Maharashtra excise department has found that the revenue from the sale of alcohol, in fact, increased by 11 per cent in April 2017, compared to the last year.

The state collected Rs 759 crore in April 2017, while in April 2016, revenue from the sale of liqour was Rs 680 crore.

The Maharashtra government has denotified Mumbai from the decision, as its highways now come under the MMRDA and BMC, not under the National Highways Authority of India. A few demands from the rural areas have come to denotify their highways as well. The ban still exists in rural parts of the state, where around 10,000 hotels and restaurants have stopped the sale of liquor.

Officials from the excise department confirmed the rise in revenue but failed to ascertain the cause.

“We will have to investigate as why the sale has gone up despite the Supreme Court order banning sale of liquor on highways,” an official said on condition of anonymity.

The Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (AHAR) had claimed that there will be loss of Rs 30,000 crore annually and lakhs will lose their jobs. Reacting on the government revenue figures, AHAR president Adarsh Shetty said it looks impossible. “I do not agree with the state government statistics that the sale has gone up for liquor. It is very illogical to say that the people are drinking more liquor when over 10,000 restaurants have shut down,” Mr Shetty said.

Industry experts opine that the increase in prices and tax of liquor might have reflected in the revenue. “Every year the liquor prices are revised and the VAT too. It could be one of the reasons that there is sudden spike in the revenue. But the government is not talking about the volume of consumption while the revenue has gone up. Also, the government data is missing the impact the ban has had on the livelihood of people. Not only hotels but allied industries like packaged water have been affected by the SC ban. We will have to wait to get an accurate picture,” said Vishal Kamat, CEO of Kamat Hotels said.

Tags: supreme court, liquor ban on highways, alcohol
Location: India, Maharashtra, Mumbai (Bombay)