Maharashtra stands to lose Rs 7,000 cr

Highway liquor ban: Hospitality industry to be severely affected

Maharashtra stands to lose Rs 7,000 cr

Mumbai, the financial capital of the country, is going to be worst affected and so is the rest of Maharashtra because of the highway liquor ban imposed by the Supreme Court.

Since April 1, when the court  order banning sale of liquor within 500 metres of state and national highways came into force, several bars have been shut including those along the Western Express Highway and Eastern Express Highway – the two arterial routes that pass through Mumbai and then the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).

The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI), the apex body for the western region of the country, and Indian Hotel And Restaurant Association (AHAR) have already made representations to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to look into the issue in a holistic way.

Maharashtra has 13,655 bars and liquor shops, of which over 500 restaurants and bars shall be hit only in Mumbai, while in Mumbai Metropolitan region 2,000 and in Maharashtra 9,925 are at a risk of losing business. The state government would stand to lose Rs 7,000 crore in taxes, excise and licence fees. “Tourism and entertainment industry is going to be badly affected,” said Dilip Datwani, President, HRAWI.

“The impact is going to be huge. There would be losses in jobs which would be as high as one million across the country. The countrywide impact on the sector is estimated at Rs 2,00,000 crore,” added Kamlesh Barot, previous president, FHRAI.

Excise Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule, during the current Budget session of the state Legislative Assembly,  said of the 25,513 liquor licences in the state, licences of 15,699 outlets which are along the highways will be affected. The estimated loss could be around Rs 7,000 crore annually, he said.

Sources said denotifying highways that pass through municipal areas is definitely an option, but the state would not hasten to do so as it may appear to defy the order. The municipal bodies will have to come up with proposals to do so.

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