Mysore/Mysuru: Following reports in media that pubs and bars are likely to open next month (Sept. 1) in Karnataka, Principal Secretary of Revenue Department (Disaster Management) and Member-Secretary of State Executive Committee, Anjum Parvez has clarified that all social clubs have been restricted from serving liquor. They can only open doors for sports activities and food service.
Reports said that while the State Government was keen on opening pubs and bars, it was waiting for the Ministry of Home Affairs guidelines on Unlock 5.0, which are expected this week.
The Excise Commissioner is likely to present a proposal for reopening of pubs and bars to the Government this week.
Even Excise Minister H. Nagesh said, “We will approach the Government to give us conditional permission to open over 5,000 establishments — bars, pubs and clubs — across the State from Sept. 1.
Following the reports, Anjum Parvez clarified that the social clubs in the State can conduct sports related activities and serve food on the table complying with the regulations and guidelines issued by the Central and State Governments in relation to COVID-19. Over 50 per cent of the total revenue comes from the sale and supply of liquor —Rs. 34 crore per day. The budgetary target for the current fiscal is Rs. 22,700 crore.
Mysuru Hotel Owners Association President C. Narayanagowda, who is also the President of Cosmopolitan Club, confirmed about the recent notification from the authorities.
‘Drop online liquor sale’
Meanwhile, the Liquor Merchants Association has urged the State Government to drop the proposal of online liquor sale. The Government is seriously considering a proposal that allows home delivery of liquor and has kicked off extensive consultations with all stakeholders. The Excise Department is planning to allow online sale of liquor in Bengaluru city via mobile apps before extending it to the rest of the State through retail outlets and MSIL shops.
The Excise Department has asked stakeholders to submit their opinion in writing. At least six States, including Kerala and Maharashtra, have already launched the online delivery of liquor in the recent months.
Business hit hard
Owners of bars and restaurants have urged the Government to drop the proposal as it would affect their business further. In a memorandum to Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, Bengaluru City and District Liquor Merchants Association has said that the online sale will deal a body blow to the wine merchants who are already reeling under severe losses due to lockdown and sale restrictions.
The Association has objected the Government’s move to grant CL-6A licence (star hotel licence) and CL-7 (hotel and boarding houses) on the National and State Highways passing through villages that have a population of 5,000 or more. It has urged the Government to refrain from imposing additional excise duty on liquor that has already been hiked twice this year. The Government has also been urged to reduce the excise duty as liquor sales have seen a downward trend due to COVID-19.