Mumbai: A Maharashtra minister on Sunday said the BJP-led government had decided to allow online sale and home delivery of liquor in the state, but later stated that only a proposal in this regard had been received.
“We want to curb the instances of drunken driving. Allowing home delivery of liquor will help in this," excise minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule said on Sunday morning, without elaborating as to when the decision would come into effect.
However, apparently fearing backlash over the announcement from Opposition parties and anti-liquor activists, the minister later said that only a proposal had been received.
“We have a received an application requesting framing of a policy for purchase of liquor online from home. However, the government has not thought about it, nor there has been any policy (framed),” Bawankule told reporters in Nagpur.
He also said his department recently took action against 35 liquor shops in the state for providing foreign liquor at customers' doorstep by taking orders through certain WhatsApp groups.
Earlier, a senior official in the excise department had told PTI that increasing the revenue was also a prime objective behind the decision to allow online sale of liquor.
The government is losing sizable excise tax due to closure of around 3,000 liquor outlets located near the highways owing to the Supreme Court's order, he said. Also, the reduction in prices of petrol and diesel earlier this month has caused some strain on the state's treasury, the official had added.