Surge in demand for liquor outlet licences in Kashmir
23 August 2003
Our Staff Reporter
Jammu: With the revival of tourism in Kashmir, there is a surge in demand for licences for liquor outlets. Militants had imposed a strict ban on liquor in the Kashmir valley and their diktat had been in force for the last 13 years. Liquor trade had flourished in the State in the pre-militancy years. The city had a number of bars selling all kinds of imported and exotic liquor and every outlet did brisk business. The militants called for a ban on liquor outlets as they considered them anti-Islamic. Liquor shops disappeared almost instantly. The trade was restricted to the black market. Militants carried out brutal attacks on some outlets, particularly in the Anantnag belt, to enforce their edict. The State Finance Minister, Muzaffar Hussain Beig, said some 1000 application had been received from all over the State to open liquor outlets in Kashmir. There had been only one liquor outlet in the valley doing a brisk business of Rs.4 lakh a day. The last date for receiving applications for liquor shops and bars was July 31. As the demand outstrips supply of liquor, licences would be allotted through a draw of lots to make the whole process transparent, the Minister said.