The state’s excise department is gearing up to follow in the footsteps of the Mumbai police, as it gears up to wield an iron fist on bars and manufacturing units in the city. The department has issued orders to ward officers across state to raid all wholesale/retail vendors and permit rooms to ensure that no one is violating excise norms.
The excise department collected Rs 8,601.32 crore in the ’11-12 session, over Rs 2,800 crore more than the collections made in 2010-11, which stopped at Rs 5,800 crore.
“With the rise in liquor prices, many permit rooms in the state have been complaining about losses. Now, in a bid to add more revenue to the state’s coffers, this drive has been initiated. The department will be raiding all bars and manufacturing units in the city to check if all the bottles that are sold at the counters are registered with the excise department, and that proper license fee is paid,” said a senior excise official.
MiD DAY had earlier reported how the losses incurred in business has forced over 100 pubs and bars in the state to shut shop. According to excise department figures, establishments in the suburbs were harder hit than those in the island city. About 50 permit rooms (FL-III) shut down in the suburbs, whereas 25 in the city did not renew their licences.
“Many licence holders have decided to shut shop because their profit margins have dropped drastically. Sales have gone down. Police harassment in the last one year has also been a contributing factor. We hope that the excise department does not pull up anyone and everyone. We are not against their drive against defaulters, but hope the innocent business owners are not harassed,” said Sudhakar Shetty, president, Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (AHAR).