Bhubaneswar: In the face of criticism from some quarters, Odisha government has allowed opening of beach shacks which can serve food and liquor in the state to promote tourism.
This is part of the Odisha government’s new Excise Policy for the year 2023-24 which will be implemented from April 1, 2023.
The policy also increase excise duty for Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) marginally besides increasing a few other costs for bars, which may increase retail alcohol costs.
The new policy provides of opening of beach shacks in the state to promote tourism. However, the license for these shacks will only be granted to the Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) and not to any private operator.
The shacks can be opened near different water bodies such as rivers, lakes, and dams, apart from sea beaches, the new policy said adding that the beach shack license will be considered a special category of ‘restaurant ON’ license, and the OTDC will have to decide on selecting operators for beach shacks through an appropriate method.
The OTDC, as the licensee, will be responsible for ensuring compliance with all procedures.
The Beach Shacks will be allowed to operate throughout the year or for a period as decided by the tourism department, depending on the climatic conditions.
Common infrastructure for the beach shacks such as power connection, water supply, sewerage connections, solid waste management and others will be provided y the OTDC or the relevant agency, it said.
The new policy will not grant licenses for new liquor off-shops during the year, besides allowing renewal of licenses for existing shops.
Congress MLA Suresh Routray strongly criticized the governemnt’s policy of opening beach shacks. “This will further encourage youths to consume alcohol. The government should not go to such a low level to generate revenue,” Routray said.
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