Come April 1 and Uttar Pradesh's nightlife will get an extension! The UP government has allowed licenced bars operating in big cities to function till 2 am, while five-star hotel bars will be allowed to remain open till 4 am. As of now, bars are allowed to operate till 1 am and those in five-star hotels can function till 3 am. The development was revealed by UP Excise Department Principal Secretary Sanjay Bhoosreddy, who said the decision was taken for the convenience of guests, especially those from abroad. Moreover, now, hotels that operate in small cities can also apply for liquor licence.
Last week, the UP government approved the new excise policy which increases the licence fee for selling liquor. Under the new policy, the licence fee for selling country-made liquor will increase by 10%, that for selling beer will witness a rise of 15% and to sell foreign liquor, the licensee will have to an extra 20% as licence fee.
Saying that the government made the excise policy simple and transparent, Bhoosreddy revealed that the renewal of licences will be carried out by e-lottery and as per the new policy, a licence holder would only have the permission to operate two shops in UP. Furthermore, Beer shops will be able to sell wine, he said. Apart from that, to serve liquor on luxury trains also, one would be charged a licence fee, which was not levied earlier. Moreover, Airport lounges and hotels outside airports will also be given licences. All bottle of liquor would bear barcodes, which would help consumers check for spurious liquor.
The annual licence fee for serving liquor in hotels with 50 rooms operating in tier-1 cities will be Rs 10 lakh from the upcoming financial year. Tier-2 city hotels will need to pay an annual fee of Rs 7.5 lakh, while those operating in tier-3 cities will have to pay Rs 5 lakh. Moreover, hotels in tier-4 cities will have to bear a licence fee of Rs 2.5 lakh.
Tier-1 cities include Noida, Agra, Varanasi, Prayagraj (Allahabad), Ghaziabad, Kanpur and Lucknow, while tier-2 includes Bareilly, Mathura, Jhansi, Meerut, Gorakhpur, Aligarh, Moradabad, Ayodhya, Firozabad and Saharanpur.