Srinagar International Airport will have its first liquor shop by January next year to “attract more tourists,” a media report said Wednesday.
The Airports Authority of India has invited e-tenders – seeking bids to run a duty-paid liquor shop at the airport – with the lowest bid of Rs 200,000 per month.
According to reports, around 50 firms have shown interest to run the venture at the airport that caters to some 20 flights or 3500 passengers a day. The outlet is scheduled to start operations from January 2018.
“All the famous and good quality liquor brands will be available for sale,” Director Srinagar Airport Sharad Kumar was quoted as saying by ‘Asia Times’.
Kumar said that the last two years were “bad for tourism sector” in the valley due to “rise in violence.”
“We hope that by providing this facility we can attract more and more tourists. Otherwise there are only a few liquor shops in Kashmir. But here it’ll be available in safe and secure environment and will give a boost to tourism,” Kumar added.
He, however, clarified that the passengers “can only buy it and carry it along but you cannot drink at the airport as it won’t be like a bar.”
Last year, the government ruled out ban on sale or trade of liquor in the state.
“There is a demand for banning liquor but I believe that the issue needs to be addressed on the basis of freedom of choice,” Minister for Finance Haseeb Drabu had said in the Legislative Council.
“In the interest of larger liberal thought, I do not want liquor to be banned here. It should also not be the state policy because Jammu & Kashmir is a tourism state,” Drabu had said.