Goa May Seek “Special Consideration” From SC On Liquor Ban

Speaking on the liquor ban that has the majority of the states in a fix, the Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has shared that the state government is in the process of approaching the Supreme Court (SC) for “clarification” on its order and may even go on to seek “special consideration” on the from the apex court.

Parrikar has held a series of meetings with liquor traders and other stakeholders who are affected by the liquor ban order including the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG).

“Following the Supreme Court order pronounced on March 31, around 1,000 out of 3,000-odd outlets (in Goa) that were facing closure, have got a respite,” Parrikar told reporters.

“Now the issue is of only 2,000 outlets. Goa Government feels that the state should have been given some special dispensation, but that right (lies) with the SC. To approach the apex court, we need to do proper documentation,” the chief minister said.

State Government Will Approach SC: Parrikar

The government, he said, has already begun analysing the order to further save many establishments from closure.

Despite the modified order passed by the SC on March 31, which reduced the distance for the ban on liquor vendors to 220 metres in areas having a population of up to 20,000, there are still many vendors that will have to shut shop according to the order.

Tourism industry is expecting a big blow since besides the famed beach destinations in Goa, it is also known for its cheap liquor. The state government, Parrikar assured, is working out a strategy to protect the affected liquor outlets from the impact of the order.

“We are contemplating the possibility of approaching the SC for proper clarification (on the order), and possibly (seek) some special consideration for the state,” Parrikar added.

Measures To Lessen The Impact On Affected Liquor Vendors

“The government will not charge any additional fees from such establishments that file applications to shift their premises outside 500 metres or 220 metres (which is the distance criteria mentioned in the SC order),” he said.

The Chief Minister further assured that the affected vendors will be permitted to new premises given that they fall into the criteria that the Excise Rules and Regulations have proposed.

Another option that they government has offered to the affected liquor outlets is to sell their licenses to other persons, if they choose to, but only if the new licensee operate following the guidelines that the order has set.

“The facility to shift to new premises or sell licenses would be made available for three years from now,” the chief minister said.

Strategies To Prevent The Closure Of Liquor Outlets

Parrikar said that a review of a notification related to highways will be taken by the government. Explaining that there are certain highways, which despite of having parallel highways being constructed in the form of bypasses, have yet to be denotified and will therefore exclude some vendors from being shut down.

Furthermore he informed that concerned departments have been given the tasks to study files and give the exact status about highways in Goa.

Wholesale Liquor License Holders Exempted

A sigh of relief for all those holding wholesale licenses as the Chief Ministers informed that in the SC order it talks of only sale to consumers hence exempting the wholesale liquor license holders from the order.

“The special zones like Naval enclaves, airport and other areas where common people do not have access will not be covered under this (apex court’s) order,” he added.

A PTI article was cited for the content