No New Year cheers for highway bars in Maharashtra

Updated: Dec 23, 2016, 16:38 IST | Silky Sharma

Maharashtra decides against issuing on-day party licence to pubs on highways in a bid to curb drink-driving


Representational pic

This New Year's, the state government won't be giving a one-day party licence to bars and pubs situated on state and national highways to Mumbai.

Following a Supreme Court order to ban all liquor shops and bars within 500 metres of national and state highways across the country, to control the increasing number of drink-driving cases, the state excise department has decided to not issue an FL-4 licence to the establishments coming within the proposed area.

Keeping 'high' in check
Speaking to mid-day, state excise department commissioner V Radha said, "As per the SC order, bars and pubs located within a 500-m radius of state and national highways won't be granted the FL-4 licence for the New Year party."

A senior officer from state excise department said that usually bar and hotel owners and those organising New Year parties on open grounds seek the licence.

While there is no change in the party deadline of 5 am for serving liquor and 3 am for music, there will be strict checking of the liquor permit licence.

"There is no change in the party deadline. However, there will be strict checking of the licence," she added.

Hotel body unhappy
While the state excise department is trying its best to reduce all possible chances of any mishap on New Year's Eve, the AHAR has called the non-issuance of FL-4 an unreasonable step.

"We have not received any circular from the excise department. Once we get it, we will consult our lawyer. If it is not issuing the licence, it is unfair," said Adarsh Shetty, president of AHAR.

What is FL-4?
FL-4 is a one-day licence issued by the state excise department that allows an establishment or a person hosting a party to serve liquor till 5 am, beyond the usual deadline of 1.30 am. For someone hosting a large gathering, it would cost around R15,050, while someone who simply needs a personal permit it would cost Rs 5. People staying in Maharashtra can get the licence for themselves by logging on to excise.mahaonline.gov.in.

How to get the licence
> Get a No-Objection Certificate from the owner of the premises where the party will be held.
> Provide a map of the premises.
> Fill the application form available at the divisional state excise office.
> Pay Rs 15,050 in cash or online for the licence.

How to get FL-4 for personal consumption
> Only those who are aged 25 and above can get the licence by showing identity proof to the shopkeeper. The charge is Rs 5 for foreign liquor and Rs 2 for country liquor.

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