Nagpur: In a significant decision, the Maharashtra cabinet on Thursday permitted the sale of wine in supermarkets as well as walk-in stores across the state.
As per the new notification, the supermarkets and walk-in stores with a minimum area of 100 sq meters will be allowed to sell wines.
However, the decision will not be applicable across districts which are covered under prohibition orders—Wardha and Gadchiroli. The decision was taken by the state cabinet and the final nod was given by chief minister Uddhav Thackeray.
A senior excise department official said the new policy comes after the wine policy which allowed sale of wine only through exclusive liquor stores lapsed. The three-tiered Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government also claimed that the decision will not just benefit the industry but also the grape farmers as they will be getting a better price for their produce.
With the newly-approved policy, the state is expecting a rise in annual wine sales from at-present 70 lakh litres to up to one crore litres.
Maharashtra has more than 40 wineries and accounts for almost 60 per cent of the country’s wine production.
Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis criticised the decision approved by the MVA government and said that the three-tiered government is determined to make Maharashtra a ‘Madha Rashtra’ (Liquor state). He added that the entire focus of the state government is to push liquor policy and mint money. “They seem to have embarked on only one agenda — of making the state liquor-surplus…In the past two years, if there is one agenda which the state government has pursued diligently, it is the liquor policy… The excise duty on imported liquor has been halved to 150 per cent,” the former chief minister added.