With the new excise policy set to increase the rate of liquor in the city, the Chandigarh administration now faces a potential threat of liquor smuggling from Panchkula.
In the new excise policy, UT has made an attempt to bring the liquor prices at par with Punjab, making it cheaper by around 20% i n Panchkula . Excise duty and value added tax (VAT) is low in Haryana as compared to Chandigarh. The new policy will come into force from June 1.
According to sources, brands such as Black Label, Chivas Regal and 100 Pipers will cost around ` 700 less per bottle in Panchkula. Similarly, brands falling in the category of super premium whiskey will cost between Rs 70 to Rs 200 less in Panchkula.
Aware of the fact, UT assistant excise and taxation commissioner RC Bhalla said they will have to be vigilant to ensure that liquor was not smuggled inside the city.
Special teams would be constituted for keeping a check on such activities.
Chandigarh Wine Merchant Association president Satyapal questioned the decision of the UT administration to continuously follow Punjab’s excise policy, while ignoring the policy of Haryana.
“The administration should have made an attempt to strike a balance rather than blindly follow the policy of Punjab,” said Satyapal.
UT finance secretary Sarvjit Singh said bringing prices at par with Punjab will help them generate more revenue.
The traders, however, welcomed the decision of reducing the quota of liquor and slashing the prices of beer.
Sandeep Sanhi, a trader, said the administration had done the right thing by reducing the quota of liquor. “Due to abnormally high quota, the liquor vendors were struggling to lift the liquor quota,” he added.
Last year, the excise and taxation department had failed to sell around 90 liquor vends despite repeated auctions and suffered a loss of around Rs 60 crore.
For attracting bidders, the department had even reduced the reserve price of vends by 30%, but in vain.
Satyapal maintained that despite reducing the number of vends, the department will struggle to sell the vends it will put up on auction.