By Vivek Gupta
For the second year in a row, the UT excise policy will not be effective from April 1 as it was proposed earlier.
Since the new policy awaits nod, auctioning of new vends is not likely to happen before the second or third week of April, and may also be stretched further. Last year, too, the excise policy came into effect from June 1 due to the Lok Sabha elections.
UT Finance Secretary Sarvjit Singh said the administration has written to UT Administrator Kaptan Singh Solanki for the extension of existing vends, which is supposed to lapse on March 31, till the new policy comes into effect.
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Solanki, it is learnt, had convened a meeting of the top brass of administration to discuss the proposed amendments in the new policy.
One of the proposals is auctioning of vends in clusters, which has been opposed by the local liquor industry.
Chandigarh Wine Merchant Association president, Sat Pal, expressed resentment, saying it may prove beneficial only for the big vendors. He advocated the auctioning of vends individually, so that small merchants can survive.
Besides this, the UT Administration is likely to reduce its liquor quota. Even in the last excise policy, the quota for country liquor and Indian-made foreign liquor was reduced considerably. The quota is distributed proportionately among the vends, keeping in view their licence fees.
The move, however, may increase the excise duty, resulting in further escalation of existing liquor prices of premium liquor brands by 10-15 per cent.
The administration is also mulling micro-brew pubs in the city, where residents can get their beer brewed according to their tastes. This concept is prevalent in Haryana.