With liquor prices set to rise from Wednesday and the second round of auction of liquor vends getting a poor response on Tuesday,it seems like it will a tough year for the UT Excise and Taxation Department. The auction of liquor vends turned out to be a damp squib,with only 21 out of 123 vends,which were not auctioned on April 23,going under the hammer.
While the highest price,Rs 2.06 crore was fetched by a liquor vend in Sector 32,the lowest,Rs 40 lakh was fetched by a vend in Sector 46. In all,the department earned Rs 19.53 crore against the total reserve price of Rs 15.91 crore.
As per the new excise policy,which will come into effect from Wednesday,every bottle of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) will cost Rs 30 to 100 extra in Chandigarh,with premium brands costing even higher. Liquor prices in Chandigarh will go up by nearly 30%,after the excise policy 2013-14 announced recently comes into effect with a substantial hike in excise duty and licence fee. With this,liquor prices in Chandigarh,that were already higher than Haryana,have been brought at par with Punjab. Some ultra premium brands will be the most expensive in the UT,than in the neighbouring states. Minimum retail price of IMFL has been hiked from 10% to 25% and beer will cost 16% to 30% more. Permit fee on IMFL,beer and wine has also been enhanced. Other duties have also been increased by at least 10%.
Out of the 21 vends that were auctioned,10 were IMFL vends,eight modern liquor vends and four country liquor vends. Now,the department will hold the auction for the third time. Peeved by the poor response,has also decided to reduce the reserve price of the remaining liquor vends by five per cent each. The auction could take place next week,a department official said.
Incidentally,the reduction in the reserve price is a deviation from the past precedent,wherein despite having no takers for several vends,the department did not reduce the price.