The excise and taxation department has allowed one liquor wholesaler to carry out operations at Industrial Area Phase 1, which falls within 500 metres of the state highway. The move has raised eyebrows from all other wholesalers whose godowns located in the area are under locks. They alleged “favour” to the sole company — M/s United Breweries Limited — because of a senior BJP leader. The excise department has even made a pass for the transport or export of liquor for the company, a copy of which is with the Chandigarh Newsline.
Earlier, assistant excise and taxation commissioner Ravinder Kaushik said all the wholesalers were allowed to sale liquor. Asked why all other wholesalers falling within the ambit of 500 metres were put under locks as per the Supreme Court guidelines, he said: “In fact, all wholesalers will be asked to start work gradually, they all will shift their godowns. It is not that licence of only one has been renewed. Licenses of others are also being renewed.”
“With the renewal of licence of United Breweries only, the retailers are forced to take beer from his stock,” said a liquor vend owner. Owner of United Breweries Limited Uday Chandel said: “No, we will also shift in a day or two. We are also looking for a place. We too were served the notice. But we have a lot of stock and at least till the time we are relocating, the stock should not go waste.”
On the allegations of only his license being renewed because of a senior BJP leader, Chandel said: “No others licences must be getting ready. And it is totally false that there is involvement of a BJP leader.”
Sumit Khanna, the owner of Calsberg Private Limited whose godown is lying locked, said: “We are not being allowed to function because our godown falls within the ambit of 500 metres and the UB Limited has been favoured by the excise department. Why only his licence has been renewed.” Ankur Goyal, a wholesaler of Bacardi, said: “When the UB has not shifted, how come they have been permitted to sale liquor.”
The excise department is also charging a fee of Rs 50,000 from the godown owners for shifting to another place, as included in this time’s excise policy.
Liquor vend auction
The excise and taxation department on Monday received bids for only three out of the remaining 14 liquor vends. There are total 77 liquor vends. However, the excise department has already achieved the target of Rs 205.61 crore against the reserve price of Rs 202 crore.
Assistant excise and taxation commissioner Ravinder Kaushik said: “We have received bids for only three of the 14 vends, but we would again invite bids for the remaining ones. We have already crossed the target amount of Rs 202 crore.” In the first auction of 53 liquor vends, the one situated in Sector 42 fetched the highest bid amount of Rs 9.51 crore against the reserve price of Rs 4.46 crore.
According to the new excise policy for 2017-18, the total quota of IMFL and country-made liquor will be Rs 82.5 lakh proof litres. Out of this, Rs 74.25 lakh proof liters will be for IMFL and Rs 8.25 lakh proof liters for country-made liquor.