Debating India
Home page > Public directory > Social and Economical Issues > Dry Gujarat may break its first bottle of whine

Dry Gujarat may break its first bottle of whine

Shashwati Ghosh

Friday 22 August 2003, by GHOSH*Shashwati

Ahmedabad, August 21: Gess what the Modi government’s planning to gift Gujarat this Navratri? High spirits.

With the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited (TCGL) recommending a relaxation in dry Gujarat’s liquor policy, the state government is looking at a plan that will allow beer and wine to flow, possibly as early as Navratri.

’’We have put in a recommendation for partial removal of prohibition in the state, especially in graded city hotels, at beaches and areas frequented by foreigners in the draft tourism policy. The document will be considered by the cabinet,’’ TCGL sources said.

The policy considers allowing hotels - from 2-star to 5-star - to stock beer and wine. To do away with the paperwork of getting a permit, the proposal suggests allowing inbound tourists staying at hotels to have access to liquor as long as they drink within the premises.

The government is also examining the possiblity of allowing more brands of liquor and making it available in places of tourist interest. It’s in line with the thinking that removal of prohibition, even if it’s partial, will be beneficial to the development of industry, especially tourism and others like IT and biotech which attract investments from foreign partners.

It’s learnt that delegations from business chambers were assured recently that the government would ’’relook’’ at the prohibition policy. Industry chambers like Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and FICCI had long been lobbying for relaxation in the prohibition policy in the state.

What they wanted was permitting people - subject to an age bar - to drink within premises, an automatic permit for inbound tourists and availability of liquor at more places.

Dilip Thakkar, director, Gopi Group of Hotels, said, ’’Being born and brought up in Gujarat, I understand the sentiment about prohibition here. But Gujarat is losing out, in terms of investment, revenue and tourism due to this. It does not harm society at large if rules allow liqour consumption within closed premises and in hotels, where inbound tourists generally stay.’’

K George Jacob, sales and business development manager, ITC Welcome Group, feels that barring places of worship and student campus, liquor should be made available in supermarkets so that people can take it home.

’’Transparency of availability will discourage malpractices. Gujarat will become richer in terms of business parties, international conferences and have the image of an upward-looking state,’’ he said, adding that the state should not decide brands to be stocked and leave it to the hotels.

SPIP | template | | Site Map | Follow-up of the site's activity RSS 2.0