After failing to frame the excise policy for 2014-15, the Chandigarh administration has decided to extend the existing policy till the new policy is not framed.
The current policy is valid up to April 30. According to sources, the new policy would be announced after the Lok Sabha elections end on May 16.
On Chandigarh administration’s request, the Election Commission of India (ECI), on March 31, had granted permission for framing and announcing the new policy during the period when model code of conduct was in force till the end of the Lok Sabha elections. A similar request was turned down by the ECI in 2009.
Despite getting a nod from ECI, the administration has failed to even start the process so far.
The new excise policy o f Punjab government came into force from April 1 in which the state gover nment reduced the rates of liquor, thus putting pressure on Chandigarh administration to follow suit. In its new policy, Punjab announced to increase the number of licensing units and reduce licensing fee.
Last year, the administration had increased the excise duty from 20% to 300%, and assessment fee by 33%, thus pushing the liquor rates higher.
The administration ha s incurred a loss of around 60 croredue to as many a s 9 0 unsold vends, despite repeated attempts. For attracting bidders, the department had even reduced the reserve price of vends by 30%.
To overcome the loss incurred due to closure of liquor vends operating from pre-fabricated structures, the excise and taxation department had decided to request the administration for assigning separate locations for allocating space for liquor shops in place of vends, which were being operated from fabricated structures.
After the excise policy 2013-14 came into force, the administration was forced to remove the pre-fabricated structures on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana high court, which were issued in 2012. There were a total of 28 pre-fabricated structures in the city, which were used as liquor vends on roadsides.