Bhopal: The excise department may lose revenue upto 35 percent if ‘No Ahata policy’ is implemented. This was revealed at the meeting of state excise department held here on Wednesday. The excise department had called liquor shop licensees to discuss the effect of policy, which will come into force from next financial year. At the meeting, the traders raised objections against ‘No Ahata policy’ and said it will affect liquor sales and they will incur heavy financial loss.

A licensee from Gwalior Laxmi Narayan Shivhare said, “Ahata is giving us additional benefits. No Ahata policy will discourage businessmen from making bids to obtain liquor shop license. Bids will be less by 35 percent. Excise department will incur huge revenue loss.” The other traders were of the view that Ahata (premises in liquor shops where buyers sit and drink) is a safe place to have drinks. They said that if the government is permitting sale of liquor, it should also provide for safe place to drink.

Bhopal-based liquor trader Hari Om Shivhare said, “In Bhopal, 80,000 people use Ahata to drink. If the facility is closed, these people will search for other places and that will create law and order problem.” Excise commissioner Arun Kochar told Free Press that the department is receiving suggestions and objections of the traders after which the report will be submitted to the state government.

He said Ahata policy was introduced in 1997 to keep check on drunkards who created ruckus on roads and other places as they had no place to sit and drink. When this policy came into force, the bidding price went up by 35 percent. “If No Ahata policy is implemented, the liquor traders may bid low,” Kochar said.

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