Belagavi: Karnataka Excise Minister R B Timmapur on Tuesday said rules for issuing liquor licences to hotels and boarding houses will be revisited, with ruling Congress legislators in the Assembly alleging that there are large-scale irregularities in the process.
AdvertisementThe minister announced the decision during the Question Hour, responding to a question raised by Bangarpet MLA S N Narayanaswamy, who sought details on the process being followed to sanction such licences (CL-7) in Kolar district.
Noting that about 70 per cent of the rules are not being followed, Narayanaswamy cited an example of CL-7 licence sanctioned to a hotel business with just 9×7 feet space for vehicle parking. He also charged excise superintendent Rangappa with issuing CL-7 licence indiscriminately, and even alleged that the latter was also a partner in every business for which he issued the licence.
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AdvertisementWith Narayanaswamy and other Congress legislators alleging that rules were being flouted, Timmapur said 18 documents or certificates are needed by the government to sanction the CL-7 licence. He said, there are 2,465 CL-7 licence holders in the state, including 56 in Kolar. During the debate, some Congress MLAs also sought to allege that irregularities took place when the BJP was in power, prompting the then Excise Minister K Gopalaiah to deny the charge, and challenge the government to get it probed. Intervening, Leader of the Opposition R Ashoka said, “Be it our government or some other, let there be an investigation, and let such licences be cancelled.” Timmapur, acknowledging the flaws, noted that the law is not specific when it comes to parking space and the design of rooms or lodges, and specifications will be introduced in the days to come. Regarding allegations made against Rangappa, the minister assured the House that he will seek a report and take action. Meanwhile, Malavalli Congress MLA P M Narendraswamy urged the government to introduce reservations in excise licences, to which the minister said the law needed to be amended. However, BJP MLA V Sunil Kumar and Ashoka said the number of liquor shops should not be increased in the name of reservation. “We have no problem if you want to provide reservation, but don’t increase the number of liquor shops,” Ashoka said, pointing out that during his recent visit to Doddaballapura, he found liquor being sold in a general store, and urged the government not to make more people drink.