MUMBAI: Maharashtra excise department has finally withdrawn October 8 as dry day in in the state for retail liquor vendors and permit rooms while for wholesale liquor traders, the business has been allowed on all holidays except on Sundays.
Decisions were made as part of ease of doing business a year ago. However, due to lockdowns the final approval to the notifications and execution had delayed, revealed principal secretary state excise Valsa Nair Singh.
Earlier, prior to the elections in 2019, state government had turned down a popular demand from hotels, liquor manufacturers and tipplers to reduce the number of dry days in the state from nine to five.
Discounting Gujarat, which has prohibition, Maharashtra has among the highest number of dry days in the country. While neighbouring Karnataka has just one dry day (October 2), Bengal and Madhya Pradesh have three each.
The four dry days hoteliers wanted to remove were: January 30, Martyr’s Day; October 8, the last day of prohibition week; Aashadhi Ekadashi; Kartiki Ekadashi. The last two days are of pilgrimage to Pandharpur and other temples. Of this October 8 has now been agreed upon thus taking the total number of dry days to eight.
Meanwhile, wholesalers have been allowed to do their business on all official holidays except Sundays. Also the deadline for country liquor wholesale license holders to conduct daily business has been extended to 8pm from 5pm. Similarly, the powers to write off losses due to damage to liquor bottles in transportation have been given to the local superintendents which were earlier vested in the excise commissioner.
Sumit Chawla, vice president of Association of Progressive Retail Liquor Vendors (APRLV) said we have heard about all these notifications being approved at Mantralaya level but not yet received the final directives from the excise commissioner’s office. However, AHAR president Shivanand Shetty said all these notifications have been received by their members.


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