Free Press Journal

Bhopal: ‘No ahata’ decision to turn streets into open bars


Bhopal: The implementation of ‘No Ahata’ decision all across the state may turn each and every dark corner into an open bar. Years back, the decision to set up ahatas – a makeshift bar attached to liquor shop – was adopted by the state government to check the roadside boozing and to prevent open areas turning into bar. However, if the government goes ahead with its ‘no Ahata’ announcement, soon one would see people consuming liquor on streets and it would the lead to law and order situation. The basic idea of Ahata was taken from the state Punjab, in the year 1997-98 and in the state it was implemented from the year 1998-99.

While, the excise department is convening a meeting on Tuesday to look into the nitty-gritty, the liquor traders have planned a meeting on Wednesday to look into the implications of the recent decision of the government on their business. The chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan addressing Dil Ki Baat’ on Sunday had announced closure of all Ahatas in the state, from next financial year. The announcement came after Karood girl students had met cops and and blamed ‘Ahatas’ for rising incidence of eve-teasing.

While talking to Free Press the liquor trader Swadeep Kesherwani said, “It’s too early to comment on the CM’s declaration, whatever the policy will be prepared the traders will be compelled to follow it, but before preparing the policy the government should interact with traders and also conduct a study”.

The deputy commissioner excise Virendra Kumar Saxena informed that in all 3617 liquor shops are operating in the state. This includes 1046 outlets dealing in foreign liquor and 2571 shops selling country liquor. Currently, the shop-bar (Ahata) are running at around 125 foreign liquor outlets, while in country liquor shops the Ahata or the ‘on shop’ drinking facilities are present in almost all the outlets.

The department is earning revenue of over Rs 7,000 crore from liquor business; around Rs 3,000 crore revenue is generated from the foreign liquor shop and while country shops are earning over Rs 4000 crore. “The contractors who want to run the shop-bar have to pay 1 per cent fee of the total license fees. The department has also set certain norms to run the shop-bar,” he added.

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