LIQUOR SALES in the district have gone down by 1.60 per cent between April and September this year compared to the corresponding period last year. Despite this, the District Excise Department is half way through in attaining its annual revenue target of Rs 143 crore.
District Excise records show a sale of 10.31 lakh proof litres of country and foreign liquor (FL) during last six months. This is against 10.48 lakh proof litres that were lifted from Excise warehouses last year.
Citing the reason, Assistant Excise Commissioner Vinod Raghuvanshi told Hindustan Times that warehouses this year issued liquor stocks keeping in view the selling capacity of licensed shops.
Normally, shops sell 80 per cent of stock from their counters while 20 per cent is sold to bootleggers, which ultimately harms the State exchequer. To keep this growing tendency in check, they were issued 20 per cent less this year.
“Last year’s consumption was an artificial one. Otherwise the actual sales from licensed outlets have gone up this year,” Raghuvanshi said.
Citing an example of bootlegging, he said 25 cartons of illicit country liquor valued at Rs 35,000 were seized from a Maruti 800 car at Navlakha on Saturday morning. The seized stock was arriving from Mhow warehouse.
After lifting the cartons, the licensee sold some of his stock to bootleggers on way. Only one out of four vehicles carrying unauthorised stocks could be confiscated. The search is on for remaining supplies, Raghuvanshi added.
Another reason for depletion is that stocks allocated for military population was lifted less.
About 12.02 lakh proof litres of foreign liquor was picked up from depot till September, as against the 15.20 lakh proof litres during the corresponding period last year.
But what arrested the dizzy fall of sales is the civilian consumption of foreign liquor that has registered an increase. The Department storehouse released 9.11 lakh proof litres till last month, which is against 8.96 lakh proof litres issued between April-September last year.
Beer consumption has been a saver too, which has registered 5.29 per cent increase in half yearly sales in 2006-07. Against 25.06 lakh bulk litres sold last year, purchases went up to 28.38 bulk litres till September 30, 2006.
Despite the dropping sales, the Department’s cash register shows an increase of income by Rs 10 crore. Against Rs 63.74 crore collected in the first six months in 2005-06, it has raked in Rs 73.18 crore so far. This half yearly recovery includes basic license fee from licensees, contractors and FL3, FL4 fee from restaurants and hotels.
While the fluctuating liquor sales may worry the State Government, which is one of its chief sources of revenue, the use of bhang has gone up by 6.58 per cent in Indore district.
According to an official estimate, denizens have consumed more than 10,384 kg of bhang since April this year. This is as against 9,743 kg consumed during corresponding period last year.