The proposed 30 percent (approx) hike in liquor prices in Goa's bars and restaurants, will reduce the coastal state's charm as a destination known for cheap liquor, the state's aggrieved bar and restaurant owners on Wednesday complained to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant urging him to revisit the decision.
In a memorandum submitted to the Chief Minister and the state Excise Department Michael Carrasco, president of the All Goa Bar Owners Association also said, that instead of an excise tariff hike, a crackdown on illegal sale of liquor at non-licenced vends would help the government generate more revenue.
"With all these hikes the revenue of the government will come down due to decrease in sales. The common man and the tourist will feel the pinch and will avoid going to restaurants, due to high prices," Carrasco said in his representation to the Chief Minister in Panaji.
"In our Goan culture, bar and restaurants are known for cheap food and affordable liquor. This culture and tradition will eventually die off. Goa is also known all over India and the world for affordable food and liquor, with these hikes there will be no difference of prices all over India, for example (liquor in) Delhi would be cheaper than Goa," Carrasco also said.
Traditionally, Goa is known as a state with a liberal excise regime, with its liquor priced cheaper as compared to neighbouring states of Karnataka and Maharashtra.
In his budget speech last month, Sawant had proposed a staggered, but steep hike on excise duty on all types of liquor manufactured and sold in Goa, according to which the duty on sale of alcohol in bars and restaurants was increased to around 30 per cent.
Justifying the excise fee hike, Sawant had said, that in recent years, several government duties including those imposed on revenue stamps, land transactions and even court fees had seen an increase.
Carrasco however argues that a crackdown on illicit sale of liquor would help the government generate more revenue, than an excise fee hike."Tightening the laws and loop holes in the liquor trade is a must to increase the revenue of the government as well as the sale of restaurants. Illegal sale of liquor by hawkers, fast food operators, local houses and road side kiosks, have to be stopped with immediate effect," Carrasco said.