In a development that will surely soar up the spirits of a section of city residents, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has directed the excise officials to make sure that liquor is not sold above the printed price in Noida. If such a case is reported, district excise officers will be suspended.
During Mayawati’s regime, alcohol was priced Rs 10 - Rs 50 over and above the printed price at liquor shops. District officers had earlier refuted these allegations. “We have directed all the vendors to display the price list at the shops so that buyer can see the retail price before buying. They have been warned not to charge more than the maximum retail price,” district excise officer Mahindra Pal said.
“Ever since the new government is formed, liquor shops have stopped levying extra charges. It is a relief to us. Earlier, they were charging extra money in the name of special State tax’,” said Gurdeep Arora, a liquor aficionado.
Due to the huge difference in liquor rates in Delhi and Noida, smuggling is on the rise. “Liquor in Delhi is cheaper by 30%-70% as compared to Noida. Whenever we go to Delhi, we make it a point to come back with at least a month’s stock,” said a city resident. The recent three dry days in Delhi due to municipal elections affected Noida tipplers too as they had to resort to buying alcohol from Noida vends.
“Due to dry days in Delhi, I bought my quota of liquor in advance,” said another alcohol lover. The 15% hike in UP liquor rates from April 1 has further aggravated the smuggling problem. The excise department has intensified checking at borders to contain the menace.