In order to ensure that liquor shops owners in the district are registered with the Food and Drug Administration, the excise department made it mandatory for those seeking new licences or renewal to attach a copy of food licence or its issuance receipt, as alcoholic beverages are now classified under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
While the officials from the excise department claimed that circulars to inform shop owners were issued in January itself, a few of the shop owners claimed ignorance about reading or hearing of any such circular.
Taken by surprise
“We were unaware that a food licence is required to run a liquor shop. When we approached the excise department for renewing our licence, its officials asked us to first get a licence from the FDA. This surprised us. The excise officials said renewal will be processed only if we attach a copy of the licence or its issuance receipt along with the application,” Mahesh Punde, owner of Arya Beer Shoppee, said. While there were few who claimed ignorance about the circular, there were others who applied for a food licence from the FDA.
Vicky Mulchandani, owner of Khushboo Wines in Karvenagar, said, “I knew about the requirement of food licence for running a liquor shop so I applied for one and got it. I have now applied for the renewal of the liquor licence with the excise department.”
Owner of Antique Wines in Pimple Saudagar said, “We recently came to know about submitting a copy of food licence or the receipt of application why applying for renewal of our liquor licence.”
A senior official from the excise department said the FDA officials had approached the department and requested them to help spread awareness about the importance of having a food licence for running a liquor shop.
“Based on their request, the department informed liquor shop owners in the district about it. We told them to get a food licence before applying for renewal of liquor licence,” the officials said.
When asked whether it was compulsory to have a food licence, a few of the excise officials said it was the FDA’s decision and they were helping it to get liquor shop registered under the FSSA Act.
FDA Joint Commissioner (Food) Shashikant Kekare said, “Though alcoholic beverages are now included in the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, very few liquor shop owners are aware of it and are registering with the FDA. So we approached to the excise department and requested them to spread awareness amongst shop owners. Based on our request, they circulated the information.”
Repeated calls to Superintendent of Excise Department A B Chaskar went unanswered.