Demanding parity in liquor rates for the alcohol served in functions held at marriage palaces, the Marriage Palaces-Resorts Association members met the Punjab Excise and Taxation Commissioner on Wednesday, urging him to look into the matter. The association members also alleged that liquor syndicates were blackmailing the customers.
An owner of a marriage palace in Kharar told Chandigarh Newsline, on condition of anonymity, that anyone who wants to serve liquor in marriage palaces, they have to buy liquor from a particular syndicate which comprises big liquor contractors. He added that the rates fixed for per box of liquor are around 40 per cent more than the rates on which an individual can buy the liquor case elsewhere.
“There is a huge gap between the rates. A strange thing is, if a function is to be held in Mohali district, our customers will have to buy liquor from the liquor syndicates in Mohali district only. It is injustice. A customer must be allowed to buy liquor from anywhere in Punjab, if he buys from any other state then its illegal,” said SS Sidhu, President of Punjab Marriage Palaces- Resorts Association.
He told Newsline that they had met the Excise and Taxation Commissioner of Punjab and took up the issue with him” “The Commissioner assured that he will look into the matter. In case the department fails to end this disparity, we will go to the court,” added Sidhu.
According to the rate list, which is applicable till April 1, Rs 1.8 lakh is charged for a case of Royal Salute; Rs 79,000 for a case for brands like Glenfiddich (18 years), JW Platinum Label, Glenlivet (18 years); Rs 68,000 for Glenlivet (15 years); Rs 64,000 for Gold; Rs 21,500 for Black Dog Century; Rs 20,500 for Ballentine; Rs 20,500 for Red Label; Rs 18,500 for 100 Pipers (8 years); Rs 17,500 for VAT 69; and Rs 12,500 for Blenders Pride Reserve, Rockford Reserve and Antiquity Blue.
“These are the brands which are usually served in marriages. A case of these brands can be bought for around 40 per cent lesser rates otherwise,” SS Sidhu said.
The Excise department officials, however, said that there was no provision in the Excise policy that allowed an individual to buy a case without showing a permit from the liquor vend, “As per our policy, an individual can buy maximum two bottles over the counter. If he buys a case, it could be an understanding between the customer and the liquor vendor, but, according to the policy, a case can be bought only if there is a proper permit,” an Excise Official said.
The official further said that they there was no disparity in the rates, which had been fixed to stop the illegal sale of liquor and smuggling from other states.
About the authorities who fixed the rates for the liquor brands to be at marriage palaces, Assistant Excise and Taxation Officer (AETO) Paramjeet Singh said that the government fixes the rates for serving the liquor in functions and there was no provision of buying a case without a permit.
About the disparity in the rates, he said that only senior officers could answer that query. Meanwhile, Punjab Excise and Taxation Commissioner Vivek Partap Singh was not available for comments on the issue.
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