Davangere district has 91 liquor shops in excess, and the Excise Department has not complied with the Karnataka Excise Act while granting licences. As per the Act, one liquor shop can be granted licence for a population of 15,000 in rural areas and 7,500 in urban areas.
In Davangere district, as per a recent census, the urban population stands at 6,29,089 and the rural population at 13,17,816. Therefore, urban areas can have a maximum of 83 liquor shops and rural areas, 87, according to Excise Department officials, who requested anonymity. However, there are 261 liquor shops across the district.
Even though licences for new liquor shops in the State were stopped in 1996, Davangere has 91 liquor shops in excess going by the population. Besides, according to sources, hundreds of applications for setting up new liquor shops were withdrawn and the deposit money returned.
The head of the Taralabalu Math, Shivamurthy Shivacharya, had urged the State government to bring in prohibition in the State. Speaking at a function on the Davangere University campus on June 19, he had said that several poor families in rural areas could be saved if prohibition was introduced.
H.M. Belavadi, depot manager, Karnataka State Beverages Corporation Ltd., told The Hindu that during 2012-13, 60,39,558 lakh cartons of liquor worth Rs. 357 crore was sold in the district. During the same year, 4,29,656 cartons of beer, containing 12 bottles each, was sold and revenue of Rs. 41 crore generated.
According to Mr. Belavadi, the sale of liquor varies from season to season. There are three distilleries in Davangere district.