Sell more liquor permits: Excise dept to bars, shops

In what alcohol sellers say is another way for the department to squeeze money from tipplers, excise officials want them to sell the permit along with the liquor

Living, as you do, in the only state in the country where you can be penalised for drinking without a permit, it is advisable to obtain one if you want to stay on the right side of the law.

Have licence to drink? State excise department officials claim the move
will encourage alcohol consumers to purchase the permit while they are

Looking at the increase in number of tipplers who do not have permits, the state excise department has asked bars and wine shops across the city to sell as many permits as they can. Officials claim the move will encourage alcohol consumers to purchase the permit while they are buying liquor. The permits have been made available by the department to the shops and pubs, officials claim.

"Many are found drinking without permits, even after bars have been given one-day drinking permits to be issued to customers. According to the state excise norms, you need to have a drinking permit before you drink, purchase, or transport liquor. However, not many follow the norms. Hence, we have set a target for selling permits that  each bar needs to achieve," said a senior excise official.
A spokesperson for the Maharashtra Wine Merchants' Association (MWMA) feels this move to be one more way of extorting money.

"The government wants to make money from all ends. So they want us to squeeze tipplers. If they are so concerned with rules and regulations, they should make permits available for free," he said, adding that Maharashtra is the only state where a tippler can purchase only two bottles of 750 ml liquor every week.

"These are ridiculous laws which need to be abolished right away."

Pointing out another problem, Bharat Thakur, president of Bar Owners' Association, Mumbai, said, "People from other states may not be aware of these laws, and they do not have permits."

Senior officials revealed that last month, the excise department requested for a few lakh permits, which have now been distributed to wine shops and bar owners. But sources said that they are still in short supply, and not so readily available with liquor sellers, who run out of them quickly. 

"If they want us to have a permit for drinking, they need to make it easily available to us. Why can't we have an online system to apply for it?," an official opined.

>> While buying or transporting alcohol, you must carry the permit with you
>> The bar you're drinking at must have all its licences in place, for you could be jailed even if the bar has lapsed in the observance of rules.

The rule 
>> Rule 70-D of Bombay Foreign liquor Rules, 1953, issued under the Bombay Prohibition Act, 1949 states that anyone who desires to purchase foreign or country liquor for possession, transport, use and consumption shall apply for a permit.

Where to get 'em
>> The permit can be obtained from the excise offices in various locations like Andheri, Chunabhatti, Chembur, Malwani, Bandra (East), old customs house, etc.

>> One-day permit (available at all bars, pub, wine shops and hotel):
Rs 5 for Indian-manufactured foreign liquor or IMFL, and Rs 2 for country liquor
One-year permit: Rs 100
Lifetime permit: Rs 1,000

What you need 
>> First off, you need to be over 25 years of age. If you satisfy the above condition, you need to submit your identity proof, along with two photographs, to get the one-year or lifetime permit. They are given immediately on submission of the application.

>> Drinking without permit is a cognisable and bailable offence. There are various penalties depending on the circumstances and factors, like the quantity of liquor involved. The offence can attract a maximum fine of Rs 50,000 and imprisonment up to five years. The magnitude of the penalty yanks drinking to the same grade of crime as assault and rioting.

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