MANGALURU: The increase in Covid-19 numbers has cost the excise department its revenue because liquor sales have been poorer compared to December 2020.
Restrictions during Christmas and in New Year celebrations as well as the closure of liquor shops because of MLC and other elections caused the sales to slump.
During Christmas 2020, 17,317 cases of liquor were sold. This fell to 14,771 cases in December 2021.
New Year sales did go up in 2021-2022, but only by 653 cases compared to 2020-2021. The total cases of liquor sold for this New Year was 10,516.
Bindushree P, the deputy commissioner of the excise department in Dakshina Kannada, said that liquor sales had remained poor after the pandemic lockdown eased. “For the past two years, sales were poor. We expected the sales to pick up but it was below our expectations. This Christmas, the sales was poorer than last Christmas and New Year sale not satisfactory. The major reason was the increase in Covid cases and the restrictions. There was also a poor flow of tourists. Sales was also hit due to closure of liquor shops due to elections,” Bindushree said. Bindushree added that not many CL-5 licences, a temporary license to serve liquor at events, were issued this time.
An excise department official, on condition of anonymity, added that the coastal district had a good percentage of business coming from neighbouring Kerala. The restrictions forced people to stay away.
“We are losing business because of it. Keralites who came to the city are now purchasing liquor from border villages of Karnataka. Another reason for poor sales is the restriction on events and closure of liquor shops at 10pm,” the official said.