Officials of the excise and taxation department are a wor ried lot these days as about 30% liquor quota fixed for the period of July to September has not been lifted so far.
In the excise policy 2014-15, the department had fixed the annual quota of Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL) at 11 lakh cases of liquor.
There are 93 Indian made foreign liquor liquor vends in the city and the quota of each vend is determined on the basis of its value.
According to the excise policy, 35% of the three-month quota (3.85 lakh liquor cases) was to be lifted between July and September. However, over 1 lakh cases of IMFL have not been lifted yet.
WHO STAND TO LOSE?
With few days left for the three-month period to end, the quota that has not been lifted will lead to financial losses to both the excise department and liquor vendors.
As per the excise policy, liquor traders have to pay the excise department Rs 168 per case, which is not lifted. The vendors will be forced to pay around Rs 2 crore to the department for these cases of liquor.
On the other hand, the excise department stands to lose around Rs 10 crore in the form of value added tax (VAT), which is charged at the rate of 12.5%; Rs 90 per case is collected as assessment charges.
Criticising the excise department’s policy, Satyapal, president Chandigarh Wine Merchant Association, said, “The liquor quota the department has fixed is very high. The department formulated the current excise policy without consulting the stakeholders.”
He said the association had taken up the issue with the department on several occasions, but to no avail.
In the current excise policy, the annual quota was reduced from 18 lakh cases to 11 lakh cases. When contacted, Chandigarh assistant excise and taxation commissioner RC Bhalla said delay in formulating the excise policy and Navratris are the two main reasons for quota not being lifted.
The current excise policy announced on May 12 will remain in force for a period of 10 months. Besides, the department is staring at a loss of around Rs 50 crore on account of 33 unsold liquor vends.
The department did not receive a single bid for the remaining vends put under hammer on August 29.
This year, the administration had decreased the number of retail sale vends from 217 to 173 vends out of which 119 were sold during the opening auction on May 27 while 17 were sold in the second auction on June 6.
Eight vends were sold in the third auction on July 19. Four contractors had surrendered their liquor vends.
Even in the last financial year, the department had suffered a loss of around Rs 60 crore after it failed to sell as many as 90 vends, out of a total of 217 vends, despite repeated attempts and reduction of reserve price of vends by 30%.