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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Cabinet nod to sale of wine in supermarket, stores of Maharashtra

A senior excise department official said the new policy has come as the present wine policy, which allows sale of wine only through exclusive liquor stores, has lapsed.

Written by Shubhangi Khapre , Yogesh Naik | Mumbai |
January 28, 2022 3:05:06 am
wineMeanwhile, the government’s decision to allow sale of wine at supermarkets and walk-in stores has invited sharp criticism from BJP.

The Maharashtra Cabinet on Thursday permitted the sale of wine in supermarket and walk-in stores across the state. Currently, only registered wine stores are allowed to sell wine. Once notified, the new rules will allow sale of wine at walk-in stores or supermarket with a minimum area of 100 sq metres. This decision, however, will not be applicable across districts covered under prohibition orders — Wardha and Gadchiroli.

A senior excise department official said the new policy has come as the present wine policy, which allows sale of wine only through exclusive liquor stores, has lapsed.

The state government said the new policy will benefit not just the industry but also grape farmers as they will get a better price for their produce. Farmers across the state produce wine from fruits, flowers, bananas and honey but wineries are unable to market them effectively. Government sources said this will help the industry with higher sales.

With the new policy, the state is expecting its annual wine sales to rise from current 70 lakh litres to up to 1 crore litres. The state has more than 40 wineries and they account for nearly 60 per cent of the country’s wine production. The total turnover of the Maharashtra’s wine industry is around Rs 1,000 crore, a source said.

Meanwhile, the government’s decision to allow sale of wine at supermarkets and walk-in stores has invited sharp criticism from BJP. “The MVA government is determined to make Maharashtra a Madha Rashtra (liquor state),” Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis said on Thursday.

The former chief minister said, “The entire focus of the state government is to push liquor policy and mint money. They seem to have embarked on only one agenda — of making the state liquor-surplus…In the past two years, if there is one agenda which the state government has pursued diligently, it is the liquor policy… The excise duty on imported liquor has been halved to 150 per cent.”

BJP MLA and former minister for education Ashish Shelar said, “Pub, bars, liquor and wine are the highest priority of MVA government…Even during the lockdown, the government’s concern was liquor supply…By bringing wine to supermarkets and shops, they have gone many steps ahead. It will not be surprising if people start getting liquor in their taps instead if water. “

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