Sell 1,500 cases in a year, or pay penalty in lakhs — that’s how the UT excise policy for 2015-16 has been interpreted by departmental stores that sell high-end liquor. They now propose not to renew their licences, and have put up around 20% discount on the current quota valid till April 15.
The new policy has set the quota for these stores — around 10 have licence at present — at 10,000 proof litres. This comes out to be around 1,500 cases of 12 each, they say, whereas at present they claim to have a sale of only 150 cases per store. There was no such clause earlier, while for vends there is a quota.
A representation was submitted to the administrator by owners of these stores — including Punjab Stores and MG Stores of Sector 9; Empire Store, Sector 17; Peshawari in Sector 19, and others — to revise the policy “as it would not only affect the traders but also create problems for the regular customers”.
They said the policy stated that if they failed to meet the quota target, Rs 1,800 penalty would be charged from them per case, which turned out to be around Rs 24 lakh if their sale remains at 150 cases annually.
They said the fee was enhanced to almost double in 2014-15 ( Rs 10 lakh) from 2013-14’s Rs 4.5 lakh, “and now the excise department has introduced a new clause by giving target to us for selling such a large number of cases”.
The sources added that the policy stated that the target included whiskies and vodka (excluding beer, wines and breezers) that further would make their business tougher.
Meanwhile, the UT excise department senior officers did not take calls, but one official seeking anonymity said the decision was taken to give fair level-playing field to vends with such stores as vendors paid huge money as allotment bids. The bidding this time collected Rs 142.6 crore, up from last year’s Rs 121 crore.