Managing to rake in only Rs 150 crore, the Punjab excise department witnessed a decline of 50% in its revenue during the draw of liquor vends across the state on Sunday.
Reason: The number of applicants vying to run liquor vends reduced drastically, close on the heels of the state’s major shift in the excise policy targeting the supply chain for 2016-17.
Punjab excise and taxation commissioner Rajat Aggarwal, speaking in Ludhiana, said the total revenue collected as application fees for the statewide draw of liquor vends touched Rs 150 crore, which is nearly half of the last fiscal’s (2015-16) Rs 308-crore figure.
The Ludhiana circle itself collected mere Rs 18 crore as application fees for the draw of vends, as compared to Rs 58-crore revenue generated last year.
Liquor vendors have been keeping their fingers crossed, with uncertainty still looming large over the main suppliers to be enlisted to procure the Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) directly from the manufacturers, as per the fresh policy for 2016-17.
Patiala, too, drew a sluggish response from vend seekers, who numbered 981 against last year’s 2,100. The revenue collected stood at Rs 2.6 crore, less than a fifth of last year’s Rs 14 crore.
Malwa region, comprising Bathinda, Fazilka, Muktsar and Sangrur districts, witnesses similar response, with Bathinda fetching Rs 2.27 crore only, against last year’s Rs 4.32 crore.
The state’s excise policy for 2016-17 created hue and cry among field suppliers and manufacturers in the wake of the delinking of some 95 field suppliers of liquor from direct procurement of the IMFL from manufacturers.
The state was also served a notice by the Punjab and Haryana high court on a plea moved by a group of suppliers who challenged the excise policy. The state has to reply to the notice by March 29, the next date of hearing in court.