Permit rooms a threat to low-cost bars

The annual bar licensing policy, to be unveiled by the State government in a couple of days, is unlikely to throw up any changes, including the licence fee, except that the privilege fee will be collected on the turnover in excess of six times the licence fee as against five times last year. The rate of privilege fee will remain the same at 9 per cent.

There will also be no change in the policy not to sanction new bars outside Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) limits where there were 373 bars. There were 1,459 bars State wide.

The Excise Department has received about 60 applications for sanction of new bars from July 1 in the areas of Ranga Reddy district falling within GHMC and 3 other applications in Hyderabad revenue district. But, indications were that some of the applicants might drop out because of permit rooms that were allowed to be set up by the government on Monday near the shops.

The permit rooms were also a big threat to existing bars, particularly the low cost `Janata or Speed bars,’ as consumers will be able to drink in them without paying extra for the cost of the bottle. Drinking in bars, however, was at a premium.

A senior excise official said 20 bars were closed down though 43 new ones came up in GHMC last year. Of them, ten bars were sanctioned for star hotels which were permitted the facility anywhere in the State. The licence fee for the bars is : Rs 25 lakh in towns with population up to 50,000; Rs. 35 lakh between 50,000 and 5 lakh; Rs. 38 lakh between 5 lakh and 20 lakh and Rs. 31 lakh in cities with population over 20 lakh. The fee is less in cities having 20 lakh and above population because sales a bar was less there when compared to smaller cities.

The official added that new bars were not being sanctioned outside Hyderabad because their strength was more than required at other places. In fact, there were more number of bars than shops in Vijayawada, Guntur, Warangal and Visakhapatnam.

Steady growth

Meanwhile, there was a Rs. 4,000-crore growth in sale of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) and beer in the State in the current excise year to close on June 30. Against sales to the tune of Rs. 15,249 crore in 2011-12, the turnover of AP Bewerages Corporation this year was Rs. 19,057 crore. The offtake by shops from APBCL godowns was 4.67 crore cases (each case is 8.75 litres) of IMFL and 4.49 crore cases (7.8 litres) of beer.

The government had some time ago rejected 12 applications for expansion of the production capacity of IMFL in distilleries.