Hike in liquor licence fee for bars part of new Haryana excise policy - Hindustan Times
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Hike in liquor licence fee for bars part of new Haryana excise policy

May 17, 2024 06:16 AM IST

Haryana government increases liquor licence fee to ₹20 lakh per annum, restricts bars and pubs to operate only till midnight, impacting consumers and businesses.

The Haryana government, as part of the excise policy 2024-25, has tweaked the rules for liquor licences. Under the new regime, which comes into effect on June 12, the licence fee has been increased from 16 lakh per annum to 20 lakh per annum. More importantly, bars and pubs can only operate till midnight — two hours earlier than the previous deadline of 2am.

If a pub wishes to operate till 2am, it must pay a licence fee of <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>40 lakh, and if it plans to stay open till 4am, it must pay an additional <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>10 lakh for a total payment of <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>50 lakh. (Parveen Kumar/HT Photo)
If a pub wishes to operate till 2am, it must pay a licence fee of 40 lakh, and if it plans to stay open till 4am, it must pay an additional 10 lakh for a total payment of 50 lakh. (Parveen Kumar/HT Photo)

Officials said that bars and pubs that wish to operate till 2am must pay an additional 20 lakh, and if an establishment wants to stay open beyond 2am, it can pay an annual fee of 5 lakh for every extra hour it plans to operate, said excise officials.

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Thus, if a pub wishes to operate till 2am, it must pay a licence fee of 40 lakh, and if it plans to stay open till 4am, it must pay an additional 10 lakh for a total payment of 50 lakh.

A senior excise official said that the earlier policy was made pocket-friendly for pubs to encourage more outlets to begin operations in the city. With the change in government, the policy has been reversed, making it difficult for establishments to operate, the official said, on condition of anonymity.

“People earlier had more options to open pubs, bars and restaurants, but with the new licence fee and operating hours, the industry will suffer a major hit,” he said.

Ashish Dev Kapoor, founder of The Wine Company and Whisky Samba bar and grill, said the new regulations will have negative impact on both consumers and restaurants.

“Inflation and rising prices already burden consumers and establishments alike. The fee hike would likely lead to increased prices for consumers and further strain on restaurant owners. Additionally, the inconsistency in operating hours, abrupt changes in policy create confusion and disrupt the consumer experience. There should be consistency in policy year after year moving in similar direction, but these sudden shifts are detrimental to consumer satisfaction. It is simply unfair for the consumer experience to face such dramatic swings in policy,” he said.

“This policy is very disappointing and it shows,” said Pushpender Yadav, director, Quaff Microbrewery.

Aarti Sharma, a resident of DLF Phase 2 who frequently visits restaurants in Gurugram, said the excise regime will affect consumers. “If restaurants and pubs are burdened with higher costs, they will likely pass on the expenses to us through higher prices on the menu. Eating out will become a more expensive indulgence, and it is disappointing to see the government implementing policies that make dining out less affordable for ordinary people,” she said.

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