WITH THE financial year coming to an end soon, liquor vend contractors have lowered the prices of liquor. New tenders will be allotted once the Chandigarh Administration announces its excise policy for the year 2017-18. Liquor vend owners have to sell their fixed quota before that. The new rate list, a copy of which is with Chandigarh Newsline, has been circulated internally among vendors. There are 99 liquor vends operating in Chandigarh.
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Liquor vend owners emphasised that because they need to ‘lift’ the fixed quota which they are given in the beginning of the year, many liquor vend owners resort to selling at lower the rates. The excise department fixes a minimum retail price to increase revenue. As liquor vend owners have to pay excise duty for the liquor quota – whether liquor was sold or not – some contractors try to sell the liquor below the minimum retail price. The liquor contractors have to pay a penalty as well if the quota doesn’t get lifted.
As per the new list, a bottle of Absolut Vodka that was earlier being sold for Rs 1,500 is now costing Rs 1,000. Similarly, Black Dog Deluxe which would cost Rs 1,600 being sold at Rs 1,300 while brands such as Chivas Regal and Black Label are now being sold at Rs 2,000 instead of Rs 2,500.
VAT 69 is available for Rs 700 instead of Rs 1200 while Antiquity Blue and Rock Ford that cost Rs 740 have now been pegged at Rs 600. 100 Pipers which was costing Rs 1,000 is selling at Rs 800 and Red Label is available at Rs 1,200 instead of Rs 1,000. Bacardi Rum that was priced at Rs 540 is available at Rs 400.
“Instead of paying a penalty later, this is the only option. For example if somebody is given a quota of 2 lakh cartons for a year and 10,000 cartons are still left, rather than paying a fine of Rs 100 or Rs 200 per case which amounts to lakhs of rupees, we prefer to sell them at lower rates. Moreover we are paying excise duty over the fixed quota,”said a liquor vend owner, who did not wish to be named.
Another liquor vend owner said, “We cannot sell it after March 31 and we are not even sure whether we would be allotted tender this time as well.”
Rakesh Popli, additional excise and taxation commissioner, said, “They cannot sell liquor at lower rates. Challans will be issued against them and if they continue to sell, the vends can be sealed as well.”