Tourism Boost: Liquor To Be Sold Along Beaches, Water Bodies In Odisha

Bhubaneswar: In a bid to boost beach tourism, the Odisha government has allowed opening of beach shacks and sale of liquor. Liquor will now be available along the beaches and near designated lakes, river banks, ponds and reservoirs in the state.

Such a provision has been incorporated in the New Excise Policy-2023-24 announced on Thursday.

However, various cultural outfits have apprehended that the attempt to allow liquor sale on beaches of Konark, Puri, Chadrabhaga, Chandipur, Gopalpur and other parts will usher in a a bad trend  and may lead to obscenity. Talking to media, Padma Charan  Nayak, president of Odisha Nisha Mukti Abhiyan, slammed the government for promoting liquor sale on beaches and near lakes and dams.

Excise Minister Ashwini Patra said,”All have seen how people were desperate to consume liquor during the Covid-19 restrictions and standing in long queues. Then liquor had to be supplied at the doorsteps of people as many, unable to get liquor, fell sick.”

As per new excise police, the excise department will issue licence for sale of liquor at cottages on beaches, eco-retreats, near lake, dams and designated water bodies. As per provision, Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) and Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) will waive off 50 per cent of the licence fee.

In the new excise policy, the department has stated that licence to sell liquor at beach cottages will be issued with permission of the OTDC.

Liquor will only be available in the cottages run by the OTDC or those by operators or agencies authorised by it.

The annual composite label registration fee for FL ON for sale of all brands has been fixed at Rs 50,000.

However, the OTDC has been empowered to pick up the agencies or operators who will avail of licence to sell liquor at cottages. However, temporary laince will be issue for cottages at eco-retreats.

As per the excise policy for financial year 2023-2024, OTDC will directly lift liquor and supply the licensed operators.

As the Excise department has increased the application fee for new/renewal of ‘OFF shops’ from Rs 1.1 lakh to Rs 1.2 lakh, the cost of IMFL will go up for the consumers.

Besides, the minimum guaranteed quantity (MGQ) and retailer fee have also been increased in the new excise policy.

However, the government has taken a significant decision of not issuing licence for new IMFL “ON Shop” for rural areas.

The licence for ON shop for sale of IMFL and bars for its consumption will be issued only in selected hotels in the urban areas across the state. The hotels having prescribed number of rooms can only avail the licence from the Excise Commissioner.

Former Excise Commissioner Sudarhan Nayak said that the new excise police is aimed at only increasing the liquor sale in urban areas, tourist places and star hotels.



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