Hyderabad: The government during has allowed wine shops to set up permit rooms provided they adhere to certain conditions. Some wine shops particularly those in areas surrounding Greater Hyderabad — don’t seem to be abiding by the government’s terms.
Bar owners have complained to the government that permit rooms have significantly affected their revenue. To that effect, they asked the government to revoke the permit room consent.
There are 2,216 wine shops in the state of which about 1,000 have been allowed permit rooms. Greater Hyderabad has 274 wine shops of which 200 have permit rooms.
Previously, the government would collect Rs 2 lakh per annum from wine shops with permit rooms. The licence period for the same was two years, which implies a total collection of Rs 4 lakh per permit room.
Under the current excise policy, the government has clubbed the permit room fee with the wine shop fee, thereby enhancing the same to Rs 10 lakh.
As per the rules prescribed by the government, permit rooms cannot be less than 20 sq metres or more than 100 sq metres in size and should be devoid of seating arrangements and food facilities. Yet some wine dealers have established permit rooms of up to an acre, with facilities like chairs and tables on par with bars.
As a result, bars are losing out on liquor sales and revenue. Bar owners have demanded the cancellation of the permit room system in the next excise policy, which is due in the next three months.
Telangana Wine Deal-ers Association president D. Venkateswara Rao said the demand was "not correct". While accepting that large permit rooms were in violation of government rules, he said that the government must strictly implement the rules related to the permit rooms. “If permit rooms continue, then the government will attract more revenue, and wine dealers and bar owners can continue to conduct their business,” Mr Venkateswara Rao told Deccan Chronicle.
Special Chief Secretary (Excise & Commercial taxes) Somesh Kumar said there have been no proposals or discussions so far in this regard....