Mumbai, Jan 28: The Maharashtra state cabinet headed by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday approved the sale of wine in supermarkets or walk-in stores.
The decision has been taken especially to benefit the small wineries and alternatively, farmers in the state who can now market their wines by selling them directly in supermarkets or in walk-in stores in a shelf-in-shop manner.
However, according to government policy, these supermarkets and walk-in shops will be situated away from religious and educational institutions.
The government will charge per bulk liter a nominal excise duty of Rs 10 on all types of wine bottles which will earn only Rs 5 crore in revenue for the state. However, this will help the excise administration know the number of wine bottles sold in the market.
The government has also fixed an annual licence fee of Rs 5,000 for the sample E-4 license but such licences will not be issued in districts where the sale of liquor is banned.
Meanwhile, the cabinet’s decision has led to a war of words between the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi and Bharatiya Janata Party.
NCP minister Nawab Malik defended the decision by saying that the policy will benefit grape and other fruit farmers and boost the wine industry in the state.
“The growth of the wine industry is important, as is a fair price to the farmers for their produce. The wine industry’s growth is also crucial for effective marketing. The wine can be sold from supermarkets or walk-in stores with a size of 100 sq m. In such supermarkets or shops, wine will be sold through locked cupboards,” he said.
At the same time, Former CM Devendra Fadnavis declared that his party would not tolerate making Maharashtra a ‘madya rashtra’ (wine state).
“Alcohol is cheaper than petrol and diesel. Permission to sell alcohol after lifting ban. Decision to issue new liquor licences and now, the sale of wine in supermarkets and grocery stores,” he said through a tweet.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Friday has said that the Maharashtra government’s decision to allow the sale of wine in supermarkets and walk-in stores would boost farmers’ income.
“Wine is not liquor. If wine sale increases, farmers will benefit from it. We’ve done this to double farmers’ income,” said Raut.