The state government has done away with the lengthy procedure to get liquor permits for the tourists making it easy for them to drink in Gujarat.
Realising that the prohibition laws were becoming a deterrent,the new rule allows tourists landing in Gujarat to get their drinking permits at the time of arrival at airport itself. Earlier,the formality ended at the respective police headquarters.
Even for domicile consumers,who have liquor licence on health ground,the annual income limit of Rs 3 lakh as a requirement,will be applicable only to first-timers and not renewals. That simply means,number of existing 50,000 permit holders do not tend to lose the licence in case they fail to produce mandatory income slab certificate.
Now,tourists can get necessary forms and file it along with the permit fee at the airport itself with officials of Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited (TCGL), said Milind Torvane,additional secretary (prohibition and complaints,Home Department).
While the forms were available at TCGL outlets in airport,tourists were still required to visit police headquarters to submit the fee of Rs 70 to complete the formalities,making facility at airport quite pointless, the official said. The tourist drinking permit is valid for seven days.
TCGL,being a corporation,was earlier not given the responsibility of fund collection. But for convenience of tourists,the home department consulted Finance Department over the issue. The Finance Department gave nod for fee collection also upon the arrival at airport itself from this month on.
The rule revision has come at a time when Gujarat has been aggressively into tourism promotion. Prohibition and its tough laws has always been cited as one of hindrances in attracting tourists to the state with 16,000 long coastline and rich culture and heritage. Chief Minister Narendra Modi has been claiming how Gujarat attracts more tourists than national average.
In Gujarat,a domicile can get drinking permits for hard liquor only on health grounds. Till 2012,applicants were required to produce a certificate from Civil Hospital Superintendent suggesting alcohol consumption for health reasons. But from last year on,the government put the clause of income slab and made mandatory to produce income-tax returns of five previous years.
But from this month,following widespread complaints against the new rule,licences coming for renewal will be exempted from the same. On an average,there are at least 3,000 fresh applicants in a year.
There were strong representations from various parts of state to even restricting producing of income-tax returns forms to 3 from 5 years. However,this has not been changed, said Torvane. The fresh applicants gets permit for a year. Upon renewal,the permit gets extended for 3 years.