Bar and restaurant owners from the Aquem Power House area on Wednesday confronted the excise inspector of Margao. They alleged that the excise department was turning a blind eye to illegalities done by wholesale wine shops allegedly conducting business beyond the permissible time at night.
Bar and restaurant owners alleged that some of the wholesale wine shops from the area have set up fast food shops and are allowing customers to drink in the open despite having no permission from the authorities concerned.
Andrew Sequeira, a bar owner, said that it was the duty of the excise department officers to keep a check on the wholesale wine shops. He said that the bar owners were paying heavy license fees to the excise department to run their businesses and if some wholesale outlets start operating illegally at night, then how are they supposed to survive?
He further said that the bar and restaurant owners want the license fees to be reduced to half.
Further, they demanded to reduce the timing of the wholesale wine shops during the renewal of license and also take strict action against if these indulge in illegalities.
Another restaurant owner Jerry said that it takes a heavy investment to run a restaurant. We need to pay cooks, helpers, waiters, etc. We also have to invest to bring food items, liquor etc. If our business is affected due to the illegalities done by the wholesale wine shops in the area then how are we supposed to survive," he questioned.
When reporters contacted excise officer Shamba Naik, he said the department is conducting inspections and patrolling regularly. "Today, we received a complaint from the bar and restaurant owners. The department will take cognisance of the matter," Naik added.