The apex body of wine producers is all set to showcase Bengal as a model state that has reduced the number of dry days from 12 days a year to just four.
The All India Wine Producers’ Association (AIWPA) wants to tell other states to cut down on dry days.
Besides bringing down the number of dry days, the state government has allowed hotels that are three-star and above to serve alcoholic beverages throughout the year.
Sources from the state excise department said that during a recent interaction with the association’s office bearers, the latter expressed satisfaction on the decision of the state government to reduce the number of dry days.
“The association office bearers have also sought details on how the state government expects to benefit financially from the decision as regards improvement in the collection of state excise,” an excise department official said.
He added, “They told us that by presenting the case of West Bengal, we would argue with the other state governments on the financial rationality behind bringing down the number of dry days.”
For 2016-17, Mitra has set an ambitious target to mop up Rs 4,698.29 crore from state excise, which is much higher than the collection of just Rs 3,981.59 crore in 2015-16.
However, surprisingly so far there had not been any announcement for any hike in the excise rate.
“The state government’s target is to increase excise collection through increase in sales of liquor and that is why the state government is making liquor sales norms more lenient in the state. Major step in this regard is the reduction in the number of dry days,” the state excise department official said.
Besides, reducing the number of dry days and allowing hotels of category three- star and above to serve alcohol round the year, the state excise department has decided to be more lenient as regarding to granted extended bar licenses at weekends that will allow bars and pubs to remain open beyond 11 pm for a maximum of three hours.