In protest against the imposition of increased fee as liquor permit charges and huge amount of Value Added Tax (VAT) from their customers, Punjab Marriage Palace Owners' Association has decided not to serve liquor in wedding functions.
“The excise and taxation department has started charging Rs. 10,000 for temporary liquor permit, apart from Rs. 20,000 as an advance VAT from customers, this is highly expensive,” senior vice-president of the association, Ravi Sidhu told HT.
Even the department's officials have ordered videography of the private functions to check evasion of tax, which has brought embarrassment not only for the palace owners but for guests in functions too, he added.
“Operating marriage palace is not a viable business venture anymore, as apart from charging high liquor fee and advance VAT, 12% service charge is applicable on marriage palace apart from 10% of luxury tax,” Sidhu said adding that due to high-headed attitude of excise and taxation department, the association has decided not to serve liquor at any function organised in palaces.
Sidhu said, “The customers, who organise marriage functions in palaces are forced by the excise department to purchase their quota from a particular nearby liquor vendor, who forces the customers to cough up the increased cost of liquor.”
Asked whether unavailability of liquor at functions would affect their clientage, as in Punjab, liquor is a must for any function, he said, “We have to lose our clients, but we are left with no option, but to take such a harsh decision.”
“We are losing business in the districts of border area with adjoining states of Haryana and Union Territory of Chandigarh, as people have started shifting venue of their proposed functions to these areas to avoid their harassment by excise department,” Sidhu said adding that in Haryana the liquor permit fee is as low as Rs. 1000 in comparison of 10 times in Punjab.