Highway Liquor Ban: 500 eateries & bars across Mumbai remain shut on day 2, claim daily loss of Rs 50,000

Highway Liquor Ban: 500 eateries & bars across Mumbai remain shut on day 2, claim daily loss of Rs 50,000
Representational Image. Courtesy: PTI

Thousands of bars, clubs and pubs across the country, including Mumbai, were left high and dry over the weekend as authorities continued to enforce the Supreme Court order banning liquor sale along highways.

In Maharashtra, the liquor ban on highways has affected at least 1,000-star hotels, the Indian Hotel And Restaurant Association (AHAR) president Adarsh Shetty said, adding that the establishments included VIP Lounge in the city’s domestic airport.

In Mumbai, at least 500 eateries and permit rooms – located within 500 metres of national or state highways – were shut for the second day on Sunday after the Supreme Court order came into effect.

Around 70 wine shops located near the highways also shut down, either permanently or for an indefinite period of time.

Many of the establishments that were shut for business in the city were located along Eastern or Western Express Highways or in the vicinity of the national highway passing through Mumbai and Thane.

Although the excise department allowed restaurants and bars to remain open and continue serving food without selling alcohol, a majority of them chose to shut shop instead.

According to AHAR, establishments suffered an average daily loss of Rs 50,000 as they were either closed for business or customers opted to visit other eateries that were serving both food and alcohol.

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government, which is also estimated to lose an annual Rs 7,000 crore due to the ban, tried to exempt bars from the order last week. However, the SC on Friday clarified that its order applied to all establishments including bars.

Following the SC clarification, State Excise Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule said that alternative ways to increase the revenue are being explored.

To minimize impact, the state may even waive of taxes in a bid to help liquor shops move away from highways.

The Supreme Court in December ordered liquor vends within 500 metres of national and state highways to shut down from April 1 in the wake of the rise in highway accidents due to drunk driving.

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