In violation of norms, liquor shops provide seating facility and eatables to customers in permit rooms

The city has 240 shops selling Indian Made Foreign Liquor, most of them having permit rooms

Notwithstanding the recent spate of drunk driving accidents in the city, several liquor shops continue to cater to customers from permit rooms.

The stretch of road from Santoshnagar crossroads to Gurramguda on one side and Sagar Ring Road to Uppal bisecting the former have become notorious. There are at least 10 liquor shops and quite a few bars on both roads. Worse still, the shops have permit rooms attached which some handy for those looking for a quick guzzle before hitting the road.

Though the norms of licensing stipulate that the shop owners must ensure there is no seating facility for customers or sale of eatables in permit rooms, all of them have made the provisions. Ready to eat non-vegetarian food is made available as soon as the order for liquor is placed. A shop owner at L.B. Nagar has even installed an air-conditioner in the permit room for which he charges a nominal amount of ₹50 per head.

The city has 240 shops selling Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL), most of them having permit rooms. The exceptions are shops selling premium brands, old outlets which want to retain their ‘no-nuisance’ identity and the ones located in prime areas where additional accommodation space is not available to rent.

Hand in glove

Excise authorities are often accused of turning a blind eye to the menace of liquor shops and permit rooms. As a leader of shop managements explains, running the outlets with permit rooms on vast open spaces as on Santoshnagar-Gurramguda road is not possible without the connivance of authorities. He added that having a permit room comes with the risk of dealing with unnecessary problems.

An official, however, said they carry out checks wherever they receive complaints of nuisance.

Liquor outlets in the city are open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and bars from 11 a.m. till midnight from Monday to Thursday and till 1 a.m. from Friday to Sunday.

Earlier, the closing time was 10 p.m. There are about 110 bars in GHMC limits but liquor shops with permit rooms have eaten into their revenues as customers purchase their stocks at a lesser price.

Open spaces

The permit rooms started in 2016 with the government stipulating a fee of ₹1 lakh per annum apart from the license fee. The shops were supposed to provide a space of 100 square metres for permit rooms, but at several places on the outskirts, huge open spaces are rented and covered with temporary shelters. Large stones are propped up like seats and benches to give customers the comfort of a bar. And all this is for free.

A strict rule that was given the go-by was that the liquor shops and permit rooms should come up under a single roof. But, at places like Gurramguda and Karmanghat, the permit rooms are open spaces, right behind the shops. Such facilities also exist in Kukatpally, Kondapur, Madhapur, Ramanthapur, Uppal, L.B. Nagar, Nagole, Balapur, Tolichowki, Dargah, HiTec City, Gachibowli, Malkajgiri, Seetaphalmandi, Mettuguda, Bowenpally and Kompally.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 8:31:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/permit-rooms-driving-up-road-accidents/article30966787.ece

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