Liquor prices in Punjab are set to go up from April 1 onwards. A bottle of country-made liquor will get costlier by Rs 10 to Rs 15 while the Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) will go up by Rs 30 to Rs 40. According to the excise policy for 2017-18 fiscal, cleared by the council of nine ministers on Saturday, the government was forced to raise the prices so as to check the loss of revenue as the state has curtailed the number of liquor vends by 484 in compliance the Supreme Court orders.
Meanwhile, the number of vends were also reduced from 6,384 to 5,900 as the state banned the operation of all liquor vends within 500 metres from national and state highways. The apex court has directed that no liquor vend would be allowed to operate within a distance of 500 metres from the outer edge of national and state highways.
Sources in the state Excise Department told The Indian Express that in a move to provide relief to liquor contractors, the quota of liquor has been decreased. While the quota of country liquor has been reduced from 10.10 crore proof litres to 8.70 crore proof litres, a reduction of 14 per cent, the quota of IMFL has been reduced from 4.73 crore proof litres to 3.80 crore proof litres, a decrease by 20 per cent.
“With a higher quota the contractors either used to face losses as they were not able to sell as much liquor, or, would engage in ways and means to ensure selling their quota. Cutting quota would also bring down consumption of liquor,’ said a source in Excise department.
As per the new Excise policy, the system of wholesale licence L-1A has been abolished. The L-1 licensees would lift their quota directly from the distilleries, bottling, plants, manufacturing companies.
The L-1 licence would be granted to a retail licensee (L-2 Licensee) in the concerned district who has secured atleast one group/ zone in a district.
Meanwhile, the price hike of liquor has, however, made the liquor contractors unhappy. They said they were already paying Rs 10 as cow cess, atta daal tax and education cess on each bottle.