Shraddha Motipara tells you why it’s become so complicated to be able to take a swig of your favorite drink in this city and how to uncomplicate matters for yourself.
If you were asked, which state do you think consumes the highest amount of liquor, what would you say? Probably thinking ‘Mumbai’, you’d say Maharashtra. Here’s a shocker. Kerala consumes the highest amount of liquor in our country. And where does the Government make it compulsory to have permits to drink, possess and transport liquor? Maharashtra! (How rational!)
According to the Bombay Prohibition Act of 1949 (yeah, 1949! India’s really progressing!), be ready to cough up a fine up to Rs.10,000 and/or spend up to six months behind bars if they catch you guzzling down any sort of ‘intoxicant’.
So, you’ll think, ‘Fine. I’ll just throw a party at home’. Well, think again. If you’re found in possession of or transporting any liquor, without a permit, you’d burn a hole as deep as Rs. 50,000 and/or be locked away for up to 5 years. Also, you need a separate permit for serving liquor at any public place. And guess what, you’d have to shell out Rs. 8500 for that (yeah, we can hear you cursing).
A small tip: Make sure that the restaurant/bar/pub you’re drinking at has the necessary licenses apart from your personal liquor permit. Or you could be rounded up if there’s a raid at that place (which seems to be the new fad these days). Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Here’s how and where you can get yourself the much needed and useful liquor permit, in Mumbai:
· According to the law, any person above the age of 25 (as if the requirement of a permit wasn’t farcical enough), can apply for a liquor license to the Collector of Mumbai City or to the Superintendent of State Excise, Mumbai.
· The Head Office of the State Excise is on the Ground Floor of the Old Customs House, Fort, Near Horniman Circle, Mumbai – 400 001. Don’t sweat if you live at the other end of the city. There are several excise stations across Mumbai, where you can get your liquor license:
1) Chembur Excise Station
Jama Chowk, Chembur camp, Next to crime branch, Sindhi colony, Chembur East
2) Chunnabhatti Excise Station
V.N.Purav Marg, Tata Nagar, Chunnabhatti East
3) Bandra Excise Station
Kalanagar, Behind Nandadeep Garden, Bandra East
4) Andheri Excise Station
Tahasildar Compound, Near Bhavans College, D.N. Road, Close to Navrang Cinema, Andheri West
5) Malwani Excise Station
Malwani No.1, Next to Fire Brigade, Marve Road, Malad West
· You have to fill up the forms (which looks like the pink one given below) available at these centers, affix a Re 5 court fee stamp and present it to the authorized officer along with two recent photographs and an identity proof.
· The charge for a one-year permit is Rs 110, while a lifetime license will leave you poorer by Rs 1,010.
Oh, and by the way, the excise office issues these permits from 11 am to 3.30 pm only (lunch time: 1.15 pm to 2 pm).
You can also collect a one-day permit at Rs 5 for Indian-manufactured foreign liquor, and Rs 2 for country liquor. Don’t forget that the one-day license expires at midnight, which means you’d need another one if your drinking post midnight, unless you don’t mind spending a night with the cops.
The day permits are available at all permit rooms, beer shops and wine shops apart from the Excise stations.
Many wine shops have started issuing the yearly and lifetime ones (they have permission to issue these permits). Here are a few in the city:
Juben Wines (Juhu)
Patel Wines (Cuffe Parade)
Twinkle Wines (Lokhandwala)
Chincholi Wines (Malad)
(Warning: you’d have to pay them extra, approximately Rs 400-500 more, compared to the Government offices)
If you’re in Bandra, you can get your permit from the restaurant Lagerbay on Waterfield Road in Bandra (The bonus? They don’t charge anything extra!)
If you just got your permit, don’t think you’re a free bird and can carry as much booze as you want. The state government recently limited the amount of liquor a person can possess and transport at a time to 2 units per person per week (that’s just the appetiser… boohoo). It used to be 12 units a week, earlier (*sigh*). Don’t get all worked up if you don’t know what the ‘unit’ means. Simply put,
1 unit = 750 ml of any hard liquor OR 1500 ml of wine OR 2600 ml of beer.
Now you do the math and you’ll know that you can transport/possess either of these in double the quantity, every week.
Here’s a govt. link that’s going to clear any more queries you have: http://stateexcise.maharashtra.gov.in/faq.htm
So, ensure that you have your ‘peeney ka license’ before you decide to satisfy your parched throat with a glass of your favorite liquor.