Desperate to save business, K'taka liquor vendors relocate to inner areas

Only 7% of the 741 outlets which have shut down in Bengaluru, managed relocation, many to residential areas.
Desperate to save business, K'taka liquor vendors relocate to inner areas
Desperate to save business, K'taka liquor vendors relocate to inner areas
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The Supreme Court order banning liquor shops within 500m of state and national highways left owners of several bars, restaurant and retail liquor outlets stranded as the excise department refused to renew their licences.

According to a report by the Times of India, nearly 10% of liquor license holders across Karnataka, including 55 in Bengaluru, have relocated their outlets to stay afloat.

The SC ruling would have impacted 6,015 licences, however, the state Public Works Department denotified 1,476.69 km of state highways and classified them as roads under urban local bodies.

The remaining 3,901 license holders had to shut shop on July 1 with 736 of these outlets located in Bengaluru alone.

However, according to Rajendra Prasad, Additional Commissioner of Excise in Karnataka, 386 licence holders or 9.9% of them, have managed to get their licences renewed by relocating their shops. A total of 3,515 licence holders have shut shop as of July 3.

“In Bengaluru, the percentage of outlets that relocated to renew its license is lower compared to the rest of Karnataka, given that 77.64-km-long national highways crisscrosses several areas. This makes it difficult for them to find new locations. Finding over 700 new locations is impossible especially since they cannot relocate to residential areas,” Prasad added.

Only 7% of the 741 outlets which have shut down, managed relocation, many to residential areas which are already congested and residential associations have been opposing the move.

“Those who have managed to relocate themselves to places beyond 500 metres of the highways have got their renewals,” additional excise commissioner Rajendra Prasad said.

The excise department, in an order passed late last month, has allowed liquor outlets to relocate anywhere in the city.

“As it is, they were going to lose their business and keeping in mind the problems faced by licence holders a discount of 50% will be given on the relocation fee under Rule-8 of the Karnataka Excise Act, 1968,” Prasad added.

Meanwhile, the Public Works Department has re-designated another 78.44 km of state highways as roads under urban local bodies in Hassan, Belagavi, Gadag, Raichur, Kalaburagi and Bidar.

These stretches had been left out in our initial survey, and we have now denotified them after physical verification.

V Shankar, Bengaluru urban deputy commissioner, told TOI that the licences of social clubs were renewed on Monday morning. Clubs -holding CL-4 licences -do not come under the ambit of the ban as the SC order is against those in possession of CL-2 and CL-7 licences.

Here is a list of the number of liquor shops shut across Karnataka in various districts:

Bengaluru Urban (683), Bengaluru Rural (55), Chikkaballapura (70), Kolar (53), Ramanagara (118). Tumakuru (207), Bagalkot (82), Belagavi (140), Vijayapura (64), Dharwad (91), Haveri (26), Bidar (31), Kalaburgi (91), Raichur (159), Yadgir (70), Ballari (124), Chitradurga (103), Davangere (103), Gadag (54), Koppala (69), Dakshina Kannada (201), Kodagu (122), Shivamogga (94), Udupi (200), Uttara Kannada (44), Chamarajanagara (77), Chikkamagaluru (84), Hassan (84), Mandya (109), Mysuru (150).

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