Panaji, July 27 (IANS) The government is probing the allotment of liquor licences to foreign nationals in Goa, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar told the assembly on Wednesday, adding that a new excise law is in the pipeline and a liquor licence will be allotted only to residents with extensive domicile.
Parsekar was replying to a question by ruling Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Michael Lobo, who raised the issue of a German national and a bearer of a Person of Indian Origin card who were given a liquor licence despite running a nightclub on agricultural land.
“Liquor licences should not be given easily. Liquor licences should be given to residents of state for 25 years. It will not happen in the future. We are changing the rule. I will take up the matter with the Advocate General. There are many cases like this,” Parsekar said, adding that three cases involving foreigners running liquor outlets had come to the notice of the excise ministry.
Leader of Opposition Pratapsing Rane also demanded a 30-minute discussion on the issue of foreign nationals involved in illegally selling liquor.
Lobo had alleged that under Indian laws, foreign nationals could not obtain an excise licence to serve and sell alcohol.
“This is an illegality and the government must put an immediate end to it. Our government has made a mistake by granting these licences to foreigners,” Lobo said.
Speaking to reporters at the State Secretariat, Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar also said that he was opposed to foreign nationals running liquor-related businesses.
“We cannot give foreigners liquor licences. In Goa, there are already unemployed people. In this particular matter, the department of home has to act and they have to stop this,” Parulekar said.
Goa is one of the top beach tourism destinations in the country and attracts over four million tourists, including half a million foreign nationals annually. Several foreigners also choose to stay in Goa for longer periods and often run business establishments with local partners in tow.