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#Party365Days: West Bengal to allow sale of liquor 365 days a year in the state
According to a report published in The Telegraph, the West Bengal government has granted permission to three-star hotels and clubs to serve liquor 365 days of the year. Moreover, the number of dry days on which liquor shops will remain open in the state have also been reduced from 12 to four-and-a-half days.

This decision taken ahead of the festive season has been described as "pragmatic" by many industrialists in the backdrop of a scramble to stock up ahead of those big holidays amidst an ongoing debate over prohibition, similar on the lines of the neighbouring state of Bihar.

The excise directorate of the West Bengal Government, which comes under the finance department issued a notification in this regard on August 16, which means that the new rules have already come into effect.

"All categories of retail excise licensed outlets/premises for the sale of country spirit.... foreign liquor or other kind of liquor or intoxicant, except bars attached to hotels graded 3-star or above and clubs, shall be kept closed and during the hours as detailed in the table below," reads the order that lists four-and-a-half days as dry days.

Mamata Banerjee, in a progressive move has phased out the days on which you would have found it difficult to get your hands on a bottle of liquor. So now, even on Gandhi Jayanti you will be able to down your favourite brand of beer while pondering over why your life sucks so much!!

As per the new notification, the four-and-a-half dry days now are – Republic Day, Independence Day, Gandhi Jayanti, the tenth day of Muharram and Dol Jatra (upto 2 pm).

This new revised list of dry days is almost at par with states like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

An industrialist asked, "Everyone knows that liquor would be available on dry days if one is willing to pay extra. Besides, people stock up for dry days in advance. Then, what's the need for dry days?"

This experimental decision by the Trinamul government is aimed at increasing revenue and also giving a much needed boost to tourism in the state. It will also help in increasing business in restaurants with liquor licences.

In West Bengal, the issue of liquor shops has always been a sensitive one. It is common to see protests in the state asking for a total ban on liquor.

Earlier, Forward Bloc MLA Ali Imran Ramz had cited Bihar's example and demanded a total ban on liquor in West Bengal. He also had the support from state representatives of of Left Front and CPI(M) and also from the Congress party.

Liquor is totally banned in the states of Bihar, Mizoram, Nagaland and Gujarat.

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