Bengaluru: Liquor stores and bar owners have got a major relief after the state government amended the Karnataka Excise Act and omitted Rule 14 (2) of (Sale of Indian & Foreign Liquors) under which they were required to pick up a statutory amount of liquor every month, which they claimed they were unable to sell but were “forced” to buy.
The government on August 1 amended the 1968 Excise Act and deleted Rule 14 (2) following massive protests by the excise licencees against what they perceived as a “draconian” rule. The amendment will come into effect 30 days after the issuance of the draft rules.
“We are compelled to buy around 52 carton boxes (468 litres) of Indian & Foreign Liquors (I&FL) every month from the Karnataka State Beverages Corporation (KSBCL), which we are unable to sell. And if we don’t pick up the prescribed amount of liquor, we have to pay Rs 100 per litre to the government as penalty for short lifting. Most of us are burdened with huge arrears now,” said a prominent bar owner. One carton box contains approximately nine litres of alcohol.
“Under the government rules we should sell at least 15 litres of I&FL alone every day, which no bar or club in the city is able to do. We are paying penalties for short lifting, which run into lakhs of rupees,” said another bar owner.
According to a senior excise officer, the minimum guaranteed quota (mgq) or Rule 14 (2) was included in the Excise Act to prevent the then existing irregularities like sale of non duty paid or duplicate (seconds and thirds) liquor, which was rampant prior to the commissioning of the KSBCL in 2003. “We decided to omit Rule 14 (2) because now there is no seconds and thirds liquor and MGQ is no longer required,” said the officer.
The controversial Rule mandated liquor stores (CL2 licencees) to buy 47 carton boxes and bar owners (CL9) to pick up 52 boxes from the KSBCL every month. “We are glad that the government has omitted the controversial rule but the issue of arrears needs to be sorted out,” said a club owner.