Maharashtra govt mulling permission to keep 12 liquor bottles at home

Maharashtra government is planning to modify rules on liquor consumption including allowing a permit holder to keep 12 bottles of alcohol at home against the existing two as it feels that these steps would help curb deaths due to sale of spurious alcohol.

Under the present rules, a person in the state also needs a day's permit to consume alcohol at a bar or any other public place (permit room) but the government is mulling doing away with this system too.

State Excise Minister Eknath Khadse said the government is likely to issue a notification next month to modify the existing law.

"More than a 100 people unnecessarily lost their lives in the Malwani hooch incident. After that incident, the state Excise department is trying various measures to curb the sale of spurious and illegal alcohol," Khadse told PTI.

"One of the steps the Excise department has suggested is to allow a permit holder to keep 12 bottles of liquor at home in place of the existing two," he said. 

Under the current law, a person needs a permit to keep alcohol at home in Maharashtra.

The government will be not be required to amend the existing Bombay Prohibition Act, he said adding that the state Cabinet is empowered to bring necessary changes in the law.

The government is also likely to do away with the existing system where a person consuming alcohol has to take a day's permit before consuming liquor, the minister said.

"When a person goes to a permit room that is legal, he has to spend on getting a day's permit. One should not be asked to pay extra while sitting in a place that already has a permit to serve alcohol," he said.

Khadse said the Excise department has also suggested to increase the minimum quantity of alcohol to be stored in each bottle from the existing 750 ml to 1,000 ml.

"The Excise department has suggested increasing the minimum quantity that can be stored in each bottle from 750 to 1,000 ml. But we are not keen on doing that at the moment," he said.

Several companies have approached the government to draft new holograms to ensure authenticity of alcohol, he said adding that a committee will be set up to decide on the issue.

"A committee will be set up that will comprise of Excise Commissioner, Excise Secretary and Finance Secretary. They will make the necessary framework for companies to respond to our tenders. After that, a company will be finalised for making holograms," Khadse said.

He said that after the hooch incident in Malwani area of Mumbai earlier this year, the Excise department has increased its vigilance to check the sale of illicit liquor. 

"Earlier an official from our department used to maintain a vigil on the sale of illicit liquor. Now, we have appointed a senior IPS officer who will keep a watch on such activities. Since he is a senior police officer, his team will do a better work in keeping these illegal activities at bay," he said.

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