The government of Karnataka has renewed its intend to start 900 liquor shops all over the state, including 30 in Bangalore, following an enormous drop in excise revenue income collection after the Supreme Court ban on liquor shops near highways. All these stores will be run by the Mysore Sales International Limited (MSIL). The additional chief secretary (finance) I S N Prasad said, “We are planning to open liquor shops in phases to make up for the possible shortfall in revenue, owing to the new highway rule”, MSIL presently has 463 stores in the state.
While the finance department of the state had cleared the proposal past year, the move was put on hold after the opposition parties accused the government of driving people into debt by opening liquor outlets when the state was rolling under drought. In reality, the MSIL had called tenders to determine 350 shops in the first period, on the condition that the outlets could have the detachable furniture to make it easy to shift to other locations as per the demand. Although the illusion of another drought looms in the state, the government seems it can’t postpone the proposal afford anymore since 700-odd liquor vends have been closed since last 30 days. A senior official from the state excise department said that “We are worried that it will take a heavy toll on the state revenue collection and eventually on welfare and development schemes”.
The official added that the state moving for de-notification of the highways and its restoration and stabilization may take longer time. The government, however, plans to first identify appropriate locations, commensurate with the order of the Supreme Court. These outlet stores will sell Indian-made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) at the maximum retail price (MRP), caused by the means of the Karnataka State Beverages Corporation. The excise official added that “The demand for liquor shops has gone up substantially ever since bars, pubs, and liquor outlets were closed in the aftermath of the Supreme court’s blanket ban on the liquor vends close to highways The ban on the sale of arrack has already created a huge scarcity in rural areas. The new outlets will look to address both issues”.
The government had really prepared to open up more MSIL retail liquor stores in the state after grievances of trading of liquor more than the MRP and inability of license holders to open up outlets in rural areas. Along with the upsurge in the demand for IMFL as of the arrack ban, the excise department had sought liquor outlets every five kilometers to avoid the sales of illegal liquor. Many rural areas, on the other hand, don’t have as many outlets which have resulted in unlawful trade, as the official said.