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Extended Nightlife Deadline Coincides With Rise In Liquor Prices

After several months of pondering over the issue, the Siddaramaiah government is likely to extend the nightlife deadline in the city.

According to sources in the government, the decision to do away with the anachronistic 11pm deadline - for both boozing and dining - will be fast-tracked, so much so that the new 'last order' timings will be in place before the election code of conduct for the Lok Sabha elections kicks in. The code of conduct is expected in the latter part of February.

As it looks now, the restaurants and bars will be allowed to remain open till 12.30 am or even 1 am, which in effect would mean that the last order hour can be either midnight or 12.30 am. The process for extending the deadline will gather hectic pace, sources said, after the coming assembly session ends around the first week of February.

At the same time, the state government has increased liquor prices effective from April 1. The price has been increased in three slabs by 10 per cent, 15 per cent and 20 per cent with the aim of bringing in excise revenue of Rs. 9,200 crore during the year.

Minister for Excise M.P. Renukacharya said that the retail price of a 180-ml bottle of branded liquor in the State was still be lower than it was in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. The price of the cheaper varieties had been increased by 10 per cent. Nearly 80 per cent of the business and revenue came from this category of liquor, Karnataka State Beverages Corporation Ltd. (KSBCL) officials said.

There has been an increase of 15 per cent in the price of the next category, and the MRP for a 180-ml bottle has been raised from Rs. 59.62 to Rs. 89.41. The price has been increased by 20 per cent for premium varieties of liquor.

It has also been decided to increase the licence fee for distilleries and breweries, effective from 1 June, from Rs. 30 lakh to Rs. 60 lakh a year.

Reproduced from Bangalore Mirror and The Hindu