BENGALURU: After coming in for an attack from the opposition BJP and JD(S) over its plans to open more MSIL liquor outlets in villages with a population of over 3,000, the Congress government in the state has backtracked and now plans to continue the old rule for CL-7 licences for every 5,000 population.
The government, however, now plans seek a report on average sales of liquor through supermarkets. This was among the reforms considered by the government which included opening more MSIL outlets and changes to retail (CL-2), hotel (CL-7) and bar (CL-9) licences. This, it is said, is an attempt by the government to wriggle out of the controversy after the opposition had termed the plan as ‘liquor bhagya’.
The state excise department had proposed issuing licences for new liquor shops and allowing sale of liquor in supermarkets in Bengaluru and other urban centres. But this led to criticism that the government was doing it to raise resources to fund its election guarantees.
Also, liquor shops were kept open on the day of ‘Bengaluru Bandh’ though prohibitory orders under Section 144 of IPC were imposed, leading to another controversy. Questions are now being raised whether the government is trying to cover up its earlier mistake or is trying to battle the economic crisis in the state.