Bengaluru: The move by the state government to circumvent Supreme Court’s ruling, seeking the ban on the sale of liquor along highways, was done in order to avoid huge losses in excise revenue.
According to a highly placed source in the State Excise Department, with this move the state government would save Rs 5000 crore. He also said that the imposition of SC’s order could have led to the shutting down of 3,300 liquor shops along the state highways.
However, the state cabinet’s decision has given rise to a dispute within the liquor industries.
The Secretary General of Karnataka Brewers and Distillers Association, Shivalingaiah, said the liquor industry had always wanted the state to take such a decision, otherwise the hospitality industry would have incurred a huge loss.
“Around 1,800 shops along the National Highways (NH) will still have to shift. The business of licensed retailers and premium hotels along the NH will be affected as they will have to shift their outlets,” said Mr Shivalingaiah.
As of now, no new licence will be issued to set up liquor shops within 500 metres from the national highway.
Shivalingaiah told Deccan Chronicle that huge revenue loss could have been one of the primary reasons behind cabinet’s decision to de-notify the state highways.
“A huge dip in the tourism sector was expected after the implementation of the SC’s order. The retailers have to apply for the renewal of their licences after June 30. If their shops come under the areas which have not been de-notified their licenses will not be renewed,” Shivalingaiah added.
The total revenue collection through liquor sales for Karnataka was about Rs 14,500 crore at the end of February. The excise department has aimed to mop up Rs 18,500 crore in the fiscal year 2017-2018, up from Rs 16,510 crore in the year ending on March 31. Out of 6,572 kilometres of national highways in Karnataka, 858 kilometres passes through towns and cities....