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Maharashtra govt publishes draft rules for wine sale in supermarkets, seeks suggestions till June 29

The policy declared by the government on January 27 created a controversy in the state with severe objection from opposition parties. Activist Anna Hazare announced a fast unto death if the government did not roll back the policy.

Written by Atikh Rashid | Pune |
Updated: April 7, 2022 4:14:58 am
Maharashtra govt publishes draft rules for wine sale in supermarkets, seeks suggestions till June 29Wine could be sold to any person holding a permit in Form FLX-C issued under rule 70D of the Bombay Foreign Liquor Rules, 1953, under the new policy. (Reuters/Representative Image)

The state government has published the draft rules for the sale of wine in supermarkets and walk-in stores and has sought suggestions and objections from the public on the same. The move, which seeks to create a parallel marketing channel for the sale of wine in addition to the licensed liquor shops, faced severe backlash from the Opposition when it was announced on January 27 this year.

Activist Anna Hazare even announced a fast unto death if the government did not roll back the policy which, he claimed, would corrupt youth by turning them into alcoholics.  Following such opposition, the state home department has now issued draft rules, Special Permit and Licences (Amendment) Rules, 2022.

As per the government estimates, there would be around 600 establishments in the state which will be eligible for sale, as per the policy. They must also set up a separate, lockable shelf of 2.25 cubic metre to store and retail wine. The draft rules also include distance-based restrictions for granting the licence. Supermarkets within a distance of 50 metres (in case of municipal body jurisdiction) and 100 metres from any educational or religious institution or any statue of national personality; 100 metres from any bus stand, station or depot of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation won’t be eligible.

Jagdish Holkar, President of All India Wine Producers’ Association (AIWPA), said the state government is taking a democratic route to promulgate a policy change that will be in the interest of farmers and agro-processing industry.

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“The government of Maharashtra is taking a progressive decision which is in the larger interest. Politicians who are opposing it are trying to get political mileage. Other ‘social activists’ are misled to believe that the move will lead to sale of liquor in kirana shops. There are many safeguards and there’s a difference between common liquor and sealed wine. In western countries, this model is being followed for ages and there has been no widespread alcoholism. This policy should be put into effect in the interest of fruit growers and vineyard owners,” said Holkar.

The suggestions and objections can be sent to the Customs department till June 29. “Any objection or suggestion should, through post or email (dycomm-inspection@mah.gov.in) to Commissioner, State Excise, Maharashtra State, 2nd Floor, Old Custom House, Shahid Bhagat Singh Marg, Fort, Mumbai 400 023, from any person with respect to the said draft on or before the aforesaid date, will be considered by the Government,” said the gazette issued on March 31.April 6.

A man was arrested with mephedrone worth Rs 27.2 lakh in Pimpri-Chinchwad on Wednesday.

The accused, Nadim Inayat Patel (33), was intercepted by police at Sudwadigaon in Maval at 11.15 pm on Tuesday. At least 272 gram of mephedrone was recovered from him, police said.

Police Havaldar Namdev Wadekar of the Crime Branch lodged the FIR in this case at Talegaon MIDC police station in the early hours of Wednesday.

Police seized the contraband along with a four-wheeler vehicle and two cell phones from Patel. He was then arrested under sections of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

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