For the first time since the new liquor policy was introduced earlier this year in the state, the industry body representing liquor manufacturers has spoken up to allege that the new policy is creating artificial shortage of liquor in the market and promoting smuggling from neighbouring state.
A section of liquor manufacturers allege the policy introduced earlier this year has procurement rules with the potential to promote nepotism and squeeze popular brands out of the market. Several retail shop owners, restaurants, hotels across state are peeved with the policy as it does not give them freedom to choose popular brands. However, the policy promotes regional liquor manufacturers.
“The policy is nothing but an attempt to promote red tape and this is a worse situation for tourism industry as well as liquor industry,” Pramod Krishna, the Director General of Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies (CIABC), told HT here on Monday.
CIABC is the parent body of liquor manufactures in the country.
The new policy authorises Uttarakhand Agricultural Produce Marketing Board to procure all liquor brands. Distribution to retailers now takes place through government appointed agencies —Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam and Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam.
In July this year, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party had released a CD which showed the state excise secretary allegedly fixing a deal with a liquor trader for awarding wholesale licence in state, forcing the government to remove him from the key positions.
There are allegations that supplies are short by 75-80 % and shop owners are incurring heavy losses.
To support the claim, Krishnan shared figures of the sales of the popular liquor brands in the state. The figures showed some of the brands have been completely wiped out from the state between August and October this year—the time of the year when sales peak.
CIABC Director General felt the present policy was creating such a scene where there is no space left for fair play. The state government has set a target of `1800 crore from sale of liquor in the current financial year, which is almost `300 crore more from the last year.
Chief minister’s media spokesperson Surendra Kumar, however, rubbished the allegations that present liquor policy is against industry.
Kumar told HT that though there were some apprehensions, the overall feedback was enthusiastic.