Nagpur :With the persistent demand to clear their liquor stock, particularly beers which comes with expiry date, the bars and permit rooms in Nagpur will soon be allowed to start home delivery of their sealed bottles, like the liquor shops. In the wake of Covid-19 lockdown, liquor shops were recently allowed to home deliver the parcels to valid permit holders.
Now another order permitting home delivery of liquor has been issued by Maharashtra government’s Principal Secretary (Excise) on Tuesday. Now the onus lies on Excise Commissioner and District Collector to implement the same in Nagpur. As Nagpur Municipal Commissioner Tukaram Mundhe has already allowed home delivery of liquor from the wine shops to the permit holders, it may not be an issue for him to allow the same to city bars, claimed sources.
Rajeev Jaiswal, President of Nagpur District Permit Rooms (Bars) Association, who owns city’s famous Needos bar has been continuously putting up demand for permission of home delivery on the behalf of all the bars being run in the district. Talking to Nagpur Today Jaiswal said that just before lockdown was announced, most of the bars had stocked up huge quantities of beer in anticipation of bubbling summer sales. Now that the liquor shops have been allowed to sell through home deliveries, we should also be given similar permission till the lockdown lasts. He however added that home delivery of liquor in long run would also spell doom for the permit rooms. “We have already incurred huge losses and now at least we can recover our cost by selling sealed stocks. Permit rooms are charged 5% tax apart from annual license fee. When we are paying the same we should also be allowed to clear our stock.”
However the Home Department order states that the permit rooms ie FL-III licence holders will only be allowed to sell stocks as on March 24, 2020 to valid permit holders. No one will be allowed to permit consumption in the premises. The exemption shall be in force until the lockdown period or till the stocks last, whichever is earlier, the order states. It added that the bar owner will not be allowed to procure fresh stock till the lockdown lasts. The owner should also take due measures to prevent spread of Covid-19 including sanitization and hygeine.
Nagpur Today also spoke to couple of other bar owners operating in Nagpur and outskirts, who unanimously voiced their concerns regarding home delivery of liquor stocks.
Pradeep Pali, owner of Garjana Group of Bars and Restaurants viewed that however it seems impractical to deliver liquor at homes, it should be allowed to save us from suffering surmounting losses. As the orders by Home Department has been issued, the Collector and Excise Commissioner should also pass the order. However home delivery is not at all a feasible idea, as per Pali. It is only good for now and would lead all permit rooms towards doom in the long run. “We have been asked to pay licence fees and many of us have already paid it too, even as the lockdown continues to prevail. So why not we should be allowed to do our business as well, while strictly following all the norms,” he added.
Arun Singh, who owns Sunrise Hotel and Resorts accommodating bar clearly agrees to the fact that those who drink will eventually grab his stock, from whatever means it is available. This tendency of buyers often attracts unscrupulous elements to adopt malpractices like black marketing and duplication. “The liquor shops are limited with limited staff, while the bars are much larger in numbers. Even bars have staff with them, which can be utilized in home deliveries in this lockdown period. The orders should be immediately passed as we would be able to pull out our money stuck in the stranded stock,” he added.
Shriniwas Viyanwar who owns a bar in Kanhan says, “Even we are ready to forego the added 5% tax and sell it at MRP so that beers can be sold off before it gets expired. Home delivery may not be practicable but at least it would bring some relief in this financial crunch. The officials should also look into our situation while we are also ready to follow social distancing and hygeine norms.”