Metrolife: Licences of 322 liquor shops suspended

Metrolife: Licences of 322 liquor shops suspended

Poll code violations

Pubs and bars on Church Street, as elsewhere, will remain closed from 6 pm on May 10 till the morning of May 13.

The excise department has suspended the licences of 322 liquor shops in Bengaluru, citing various violations.

The suspensions this election season have been higher than in previous seasons, officials told Metrolife.

“We have zero tolerance and our checks have become more stringent,” S L Rajendra Prasad, additional commissioner of excise, says.

 Officials conducted many raids after the election code of conduct came into force on March 27.

Sales have come down since last season. Shivayya K S, deputy director of statistics, excise department, says, “A box contains 8.64 litres and only 9.48 lakh boxes were sold in Bengaluru between April 1 and May 7 this year. The volume has come down since last time.”

He attributes the reduction to the strict enforcement of the rules during the code of conduct. But revenue has not been affected because prices are higher. “Revenues have in fact increased by 4 percent because of the increased prices,” Shivayya says.

 Rajendra Prasad lists three main reasons for the suspension of liquor shop licences. “It could be for not displaying a name board, keeping open beyond stipulated hours, and also misusing liquor,” he says.

The stores can get the suspension revoked, but the discretion lies with the deputy commissioner of the district.

Owners of liquor stores say they are being discriminated against. The owner of a store in Maruti Sevanagar, whose licence was suspended, says the officials targeted him. “The rules must be equal for everybody. My licence was suspended but other shops have been operating beyond the stipulated hours. They are untouched because they belong to the local corporator,” he told Metrolife.

Tipplers stocking up

The sale of liquor has been banned from the evening of May 10 till the morning of May 13.

Elections are coming up on Saturday, May 12.

Many liquor shops say sales are on the rise. “Sales go up whenever there is news of such closure,” the owner of a store on Coles Road says.

 A group of young men in Kothanur told Metrolife they were buying five bottles of beer each, keeping in mind the dry days ahead.

 Sudarshan Gowda, a businessman, says, “Thanks to the elections, it is hard to buy liquor in bulk for big parties.”

What’s the fine?

Suspended liquor stores could be slapped penalties of Rs 5,000 to Rs 50,000.

What leads to licence suspension

Liquor is sold above MRP

Liquor is served across the counter.

Unhygienic conditions.

Working beyond stipulated hours.