A former member of parliament and eight ex-legislators are involved in liquor trade in Jammu and Kashmir, where over 225 wine shops are running with majority of these in the winter capital.
Eight former legislators and an ex-MP are having licenses for the sale of liquor in Jammu, Samba, Kathua and Leh districts, Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu informed the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly in a written reply today.
All the 10 districts of Jammu region have liquor shops, while only four shops are running in summer capital Srinagar, among the 10 districts of Kashmir, and two in Leh district of Ladakh region, he said.
There has been a demand for ban on liquor in the state with a religious organisation moving High Court on the issue recently.
The High Court has issued a notice to the government for filing its response in a week to public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Karwan-e-Islami on September 29.
In Jammu district, Drabu said there are 135 liquor shops, 15 hotels with bars, seven hotels with Bar and Banquet, 39 bars with restaurant, one bar with banquet, four bars with clubs and one bar in officers’ mess.
In addition, there are 17 wholesale trade licenses, 20 wholesale trade licenses (manufacturing outside state) and two each outside manufacturers or suppliers for possession and wholesale of bio-imported foreign liquor and bio wine-Indian in Jammu district.
The highway district of Udhampur has the second highest number of liquor shops with their number standing at 21 followed by 19 in Kathua, 11 (Samba), nine (Rajouri) and seven (Reasi).
Six shops each are running in Ramban and Doda districts, four in Poonch and one in Kishtwar.
In addition, 13 sub-vendors are functioning in the state – four in Kathua, three in Rajouri, two in Jammu, and one each in Samba, Udhampur, Poonch and Leh, Drabu said.
There are three wholesale trade licenses in Leh, two in Samba and one each in Kathua, Udhampur and Srinagar districts, while 14 hotels with bars in Udhampur, three each in Srinagar and Rajouri, two each in Ramban and Kathua and one each in Reasi and Samba, he added.
There are also 27 bars with restaurants in Kathua, 20 in Samba, 14 in Rajouri, 12 in Udhampur, four in Poonch, two in Srinagar and one each in Kishtwar and Ramban.
Srinagar, which witnessed a number of militant attacks on liquor outlets since the eruption of militancy in 1990, also has three bars with clubs, Drabu said.
He said eight persons are holding multiple licenses for running liquor business in the state. None of these persons have more than two licenses, he added.
In another written reply, Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who is also minister in-charge Home, informed the house that Rs 38.19 crore was collected on account of import of various kinds of liquor while Rs 1.36 lakh was collected on account of export of the liquor in Jammu region till August this year.
The Duties collected on account of import of Indian Made foreign Liqujor (IMFL), beer and Ready to Drink was Rs 95.79 crore last year as compared to Rs 83.94 crore the previous year.
Similarly, the duties collected on account of export of IMFL and beer during the last financial year was Rs 4.52 lakh against Rs 3.05 lakh in 2013-14.
Over 1.48 crore LPLs of IMFL, over 66 lakh beer cases and about 3,000 Ready to Drink cases were imported in Jammu division since 2013, while 8.95 lakh LPLs of IMFL and 32.65 lakh cases of beer were exported during the same period.