AAI drops plan to open liquor outlet at Srinagar airport

AAI drops plan to open liquor outlet at Srinagar airport

After widespread resentment, Airports Authority of India (AAI) on Friday cancelled the tender for duty paid liquor shop at Srinagar International Airport.  

The decision to open the liquor outlet was as part of a central government initiative to install such outlets at all aerodromes across the country.

However, after hue-n-cry raised by various social and religious groups in Kashmir, state's Excise department refused permission for opening of the liquor shop at the airport.

In a statement, the AAI said, "It is observed through media/social media that a section of society is against having duty paid liquor shop at Srinagar International Airport and honouring local sentiments, the AAI has decided to cancel the tender process of duty paid liquor shop with immediate effect".

"It is hoped that with this communication all controversies arising out will be placed at rest," the statement concluded.  The Excise department had said that it won't grant a licence for the opening of the liquor shop at the airport.  In a letter to DirectorAAI, the excise commissioner had intimated that no permit shall be granted for the opening of a liquor shop at Airport in violation of the provisions  of J&K Excise Act, 1958 and liquor License and state rules 1984.

Earlier media reports had said that the AAI had floated tenders for a liquor shop at Sheikh-ul-Aalam International Airport in Srinagar too boast tourism in Kashmir.

The plan was to open the outlet on New Year's Day, sources said, adding that no fewer than 50 firms from various states had shown interest in the proposal.

Kashmir is not dry officially but an unofficial ban was imposed by militants in 1990 on sale and consumption of liquor. The state has 223 liquor vends - a rich source of revenue for the government - but most of them are in Jammu. In Kashmir, there are seven liquor vends - four wine shops and three bars in hotels and restaurants, all in Srinagar.

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