More liquor shops may be licensed

Shankar Bennur

It is being thought of in an attempt to prevent the sale of illicit liquor

Ban on arrack has increased demand for IMFL

Large number of applications for liquor shop licences

MYSORE: Even as the demand for Indian-made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) has gone up after the ban on arrack came into force, the State Government is now seriously considering issuing licences for more liquor shops in the hobli headquarters in each district. It has sought feedback from excise officials on the number of liquor shops in each hobli, which is a cluster of several villages.

The Government intends to make up the loss of over Rs. 2,000 crore from the ban on arrack by plugging revenue leakage in the IMFL trade.

A senior excise official, who requested anonymity, said that though the Government was yet to decide on issuing fresh licences, it had asked the Excise Department to find out whether licensing more IMFL outlets in the hoblis would help prevent the sale of illicit liquor.

The official said licences were issued based on the population of the area or a village. Till recently, licences were being issued based on the Census report of 2001. Now the Government was thinking of allowing two more wine shops in each hobli to curb the sale of illicit liquor.

Though there is no immediate alternative to arrack, those addicted to it are likely to go in for cheap IMFL. “There are certain 25 per cent proof IMFL brands that are as potent as arrack,” sources in the Excise Department said.

“Arrack is made from rectified spirit and IMFL from neutral spirit. A packet containing 100 ml of arrack was sold at Rs. 11, and a 180-ml bottle of cheap IMFL is priced between Rs. 25 and Rs. 30,” they said.

After the arrack ban came into effect, the Excise Department has received a large number of applications for liquor shop licences. However, the Government has not taken a decision on issuing fresh licences.

To attract new customers, liquor shops are being illuminated and decorated with flowers. At the same time, taking advantage of the ban on arrack, IMFL is being sold at higher prices.

In Mysore district alone, over 2,000 applications for liquor shop licences have been submitted to the Excise Department. Since the applications were not in the prescribed format, the applicants have been asked to resubmit them.

Recommended for you