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Liquor ban 2017: A Blow to Hospitality industry

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The Honourable Supreme Court of India,
This letter is in response to your verdict on 31 March 2017 with regard to strictures on liquor sale.
While the decision is well intentioned towards curbing drunken driving causing fatal accidents at higher speeds, however, the verdict is axiomatically a radical and a blanket sweeping statement which has already caused severe damages to well meaning sincere business men of hotel industry who were following all licensed rules without compromises.
We are amateur small scale entrepreneurs in the hospitality business of small towns, who have ventured into this trade with an urge to explore into hospitality service, may be because of our social interactive skills, values, beliefs and culture learnt over the years.
The journey so far has been very tough wherein, in last so many years we converted our desire to a satisfying social venture and in doing so we were considered as the most amiable and sort after places to exult, primarily to include families and educated small town simple people. They had a reason to rejoice and let go their stress on weekends. But, sir with this Frankenstein stricture, our service has been shattered. As you would appreciate that the business of hospitality involves training of large number of young and docile youth on mannerisms, integrity, quality assurance and security. The sincerity in small towns is emotive and associated with trust and reliability. All our subordinates enjoyed an unconditional family like rapport with highest levels of respect and integrity. Their livelihood was our responsibility and they reciprocated our congenial philanthropy with the utmost degree of dogged sincerity. They worked really hard in thick and thin during our journey till now. Till date we all have paid for all licenses, taxes (direct and indirect), ESI, EPF to our staff, provided social and health security to 150 members including their families working relentlessly for a noble cause.
In today’s democratic set-up that our country boasts of, such diktat decrees which cause hardships to large section of well meaning people is absolutely unwarranted and has already proved to be an erroneous decision. We would substantiate the statement with the following impact as under:-
- Major impact is on the footfalls, as the entire visit to my locality used to hover around the decent environment of serving quality drinks with extremely homely atmosphere. The business of hospitality survives on word of mouth and not grandiose settings. Ours happened to have achieved the likes of all locals. So much of hard earned reputation is plummeting rapidly. One has to realize the difference between a normal liquor vending shop and the licensed bar/banquet halls. While the former provides liquor to people on move along the highway, whereas, the later is a place for social interactions, not involving highway commuters. The capacity of drinking is very limited in bars vis-a-vis the purchased bottle consumers. As such, in restaurants like ours, we have been following with limiting the liquor to be issued beyond threshold levels. Here people focus on rejoicing with quality snacks and food rather than indulge in heavy drinking. Effective policing as such, ensures a caution to cater for sensible drivers to drive home the tipsy owners.

- We are unwillingly being coerced to sign termination letters of our hardworking and affectionate subordinates who have sweated day in and out to make a living. We feel poignantly crestfallen to inform them that they have no utility in our trade hereafter. This has already turned into a violent situation and our subordinates have become belligerent without understanding our predicament. We along with our families are in tremendous duress and are unable to find solution towards settlement of the subordinates. We only wish the decision makers can sense the repercussions of their sweeping verdicts. The pros and cons of closing a shop versus a full-fledged industry should have been pragmatically examined. This ban has put thousands of valid businesses employing lakhs of people at risk.

- Illegal liquor vends have started flourishing along highways.

- Many states are considering denotifying state highways within cities and towns and turning them into urban roads. States have also approached the Centre to find out if it can convert National highways into city roads to steer clear the Supreme Court order to shut down liquor vends and bars along highways. But where do small and common people like us go to? Without an official permission we have never treaded to move against the law of our country.

Redress Sought – We on behalf of all affected parties would request your just offices to grant redressal to our grievance by lifting the ban of liquor sale from licensed bars and restaurants on ethical grounds. Blanket bans and prohibition-like decrees, whether from judiciary or legislature, only make the problem worse. Also make it amply clear that this decree does not include the banquet halls as it is not stated in the verdict.
The clouds of uncertainty linger and large numbers are awaiting sensible sense to prevail forthwith, essentially on ethical than on emotive grounds. We have been consoling all the subordinates and local people who used to subscribe to our services, that India’s judiciary has always held the hand of righteous. We are sanguine that redress will be granted to the grievance and apex court will reconsider the draconian decision at earliest please.
Sincerely Yours,

A Distressed Citizen of India

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