The district will not only witness a fall in the number of liquor vends in the next financial year, but will also witness a fall in revenue from liquor business.
Compared to 513 liquor vends in the district this financial year coming to an end on March 31, there will be 462 liquor shops in the district in the 2017-18 fiscal year , 51 less than this year. Out of these 462 vends, 355 will be of country-made liquor and 107 of Indian-made foreign liquor. Also, the revenue to be earned from the sale of liquor will come down from Rs 202.4 crore this year to Rs 184.5 witnessing a fall of Rs 18 crore in revenue.
The process of holding a draw of lots for auctioning liquor vends in the district has started with applications being accepted till Monday. The draw of lots will be held on March 29. The district has been divided in seven zones.
As per the instructions, Rs 50, 000 is the application fee for a zone with revenue of up to Rs 10 crore, while for a zone with Rs 10-Rs 30 crore revenue, application fee is Rs 75, 000 and for a zone with revenue higher than Rs 30 crore, application fee is Rs 1 lakh.
Excise and taxation officer Vikramdev Thakur said that all zones in the district are in the category of Rs 10-Rs 30 crore revenue.
Meanwhile, majority of the liquor vends to be closed down in the district are along the national and state highways. The state government has decided not to open liquor vends along national and state highways following Supreme Court directions. The Supreme Court has banned liquor shops within 500 meters of national and state highways across the country with an aim of reducing instances of drunken driving and road accidents.
The excise and taxation department had identified 146 liquor shops in the district which were existing in contradiction to the Supreme Court directions. The remaining shops out of these 146 have been relocated at other places.
The draw of lots of liquor vends in the district had witnessed chaos last year and the process was halted midway which was conducted after some days. On a petition by Harish Kumar Aggarwal, the Punjab and Haryana high court had set aside the auction and a fresh draw of lots was conducted in December for the remaining period of the financial year. However, as no application was received in the new process, the earlier allottees ran the vends as was directed by the high court.