Panaji: Maharashtra minister Shambhuraj Desai’s warning of strict action against those bringing in liquor from Goa has brought into question the validity of the excise department’s transport permit that allows a traveller to carry two bottles of alcohol outside the state.The Goa excise department doesn’t issue a liquor transport permit (TP) to Karnataka and Maharashtra as the excise policies of these two states do not allow it.
However, this has not stopped people from getting a TP issued on the guise of travelling to other states or Union territories (UT), either via road or water.Getting a permit is easy. All one needs to do is mention the name of any of the nine states or three UTs which the Goa excise department issues TPs for, a senior excise official said.
It is issued by a retailer or wholesaler by paying Rs 20. The seller then has to deposit the revenue with the excise department. “A person from Karnataka or Maharashtra can obtain a TP by saying he is going to Himachal Pradesh or Odisha,” said an excise official on condition of anonymity.Retailers and wholesalers fear that the Maharashtra government’s action will impact their business and they want the Goa government to hold discussions with its counterpart in the neighbouring state.
“Everyone knows what has been happening but nobody wants to discuss it,” a prominent wholesaler told TOI.The excise official added that the sale of alcohol is likely to be affected if Maharashtra acts on its warning. “Since we are not issuing the permits, I don’t know what can be done about it,” the official said. As per the Goa Excise Duty Rules, 1965, transport permits are issued but he is not aware when the practice started.
A retailer said there are ambiguities with respect to the TP issued by the Goa excise department which have not been addressed as traders as well the government were not keen to resolve the issue.A traveller going to Daman and who has a permit to carry two bottles must pass through Maharashtra and Gujarat, a dry state.
“Where does the permit mention that it will be valid while travelling through Maharashtra or a dry state? This has been a loophole that the authorities do not want to address,” the retailer said.As per the transport permit, liquor carried must not be consumed or allowed to be consumed in any manner during transport other than in the state or Union territory it is being taken to and the seal on the bottle must be kept intact.
Owner of Cazulo premium feni Hansel Vaz asked if the government of the neighbouring state can slap a case against a traveller from Daman carrying two bottles of liquor with a permit. “Who will invoke the provisions of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crimes Act? Does an excise guard have the power to do so? To me, it does not make any sense,” Vaz said.