PANAJI In a stark contrast to licensed liquor stores, which require special permission and double fees to operate for one extra hour beyond the permissible time, the State government has granted a unique privilege to retail liquor outlets at airports by allowing them to operate 24/7.
The approval, done so by further amending the rule to the Goa Excise Duty Act, 1964, was notified exactly on the eve of the Independence Day, on August 14.
Permission to operate wine shop in state
The development also comes at a time when a Mumbai-based firm applied with the Excise Department for permission to operate a wine shop at the Manohar International Airport, Mopa. The liquor traders had objected to the government’s move for publishing the notification as it would facilitate non-Goans to enter the trade in the State.
Now called The Goa Excise Duty (Amendment) Rules, 2023, the law comes into force on the date of its publication in the Official Gazette, being August 16. “On airport, the licensed premises for retail sale of liquor may be kept open for 24 hours,” it stated.
Liquor outlets will have to pay annual fees
The liquor outlets will have to pay a meagre sum of ₹3 lakh approx for sale of Indian liquor and ₹2 lakh approx for foreign liquor as annual fees. Likewise, the government has relaxed the clause of mandatory 25 years residence to avail the licence, according to the Goa Liquor Traders Association which also claimed that the concerned liquor licence owner will be allowed to operate more than one premises at airports unlike the usual norm for other liquor stores.
"The government does not allow us to own more than one liquor store in a village/city/town but the rule bends at the airports. Relaxing rules and amending the excise law is a clear attempt to allow outsiders. It is against the Bahujan Samaj as well as minority community, who are mainly into this business," association President Dattaprasad Naik lamented while speaking to The Goan.