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Liquor ban takes fizz out of CBD pubs, business hits rock bottom


BENGALURU: The Supreme Court’s ban on sale of liquor along the highways has dealt a body blow to the liquor industry, and the popular pubs of Bengaluru’s central business district (CBD) are doing less than 1% of business they did earlier.

As many as 681 liquor outlets in the city lost licences on July 1, and some downed shutters. Most pubs are open and serving only food in the hope that the state government will get the Centre’s nod to denotify national highway stretches in the city .But without drinks being served, they have few takers.Eighteen days after the ban kicked in, the business at the pubs has hit rock bottom.

“The business is almost zero. Since we are not a specialty food restaurant, we are getting few customers,” said Biswa Bhushan, GM of bar chain House of Commons. He said the daily business at the Brigade Road outlet of House of Commons averaged Rs 1.6 lakh, but has now touched below Rs 5,000. On Tuesday , with a couple of customers visiting the outlet, it could collect a mere Rs 1,050.


The daily turnover at Guzzlers Inn on Brigade Road was not less than Rs 1.75 lakh till July 1. The pub collected just Rs 500 on Tuesday. “I put the blame on the state government. It should have taken steps to get MG Road and other stretches of national highways in the city denotified following the Supreme Court’s order last December. The government is in deep slumber and the in dustry is bearing the brunt,” said Ashish S Kothare, owner of Guzzlers Inn and member of the managing committee of National Restaurants Association of India.

Bhushan said about 150 famare dependent on the employees working at the three outlets of House of Commons. Licences of two of the outlets have not been re newed following the ban.

The licence of the Ko ramangala outlet, the bigger one with 300 seats, has not been renewed. The bar’s business has climbed down from Rs 3 lakh a day to Rs 6,000 a day.

“We are pay ing Rs 1.5 lakh rent for the Bri gade Road outlet and spending about Rs 5 lakh a month on salaries and utility bills. Still we have not asked our employees to leave,” said Bhushan.

Kothare said the industry was hoping that the crisis would be resolved soon with the Supreme Court saying it was state government’s prerogative to denotify highways. The apex court on July 11 had upheld the Punjab government’s order denotifying highways in the state, saying it has no objection to the liquor business along roads so long as they are not highways. “The state government must act fast and give us reprieve,” he said.
Source: Economic Times

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