The excise and taxation department shut down more than 25 liquor vends, belonging to Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLA from Faridkot Deep Malhotra; Congress MLA from Samrala Amrik Singh Dhillon; and other influential businessmen, due to the non-payment of licence fee.
Tightening the noose on the liquor vend owners for not paying the monthly licence fee on time, the department sealed the liquor vends falling in zones D and E across the district on Sunday and directed the owners to immediately pay the amount. According to officials, the owners of the liquor vends had not paid licence fee worth Rs 2.4 crore. Department officials, however, re-opened around 12 vends falling in zone D after its contractors paid the pending Rs 1.2 crore to the department. Meanwhile, the liquor vends in zone E will remain sealed till the contractors pay the pending amount. Department officials also shut down liquor vends in Nabha for non-payment of licence fee, but reopened them after the contractors made the payment. Liquor vends across the district have been divided into six zones. Each zone costs around Rs 16 crore to its owners, who have to pay 15% of Rs 16 crore at the time of allotment of licence to the vends at the start of the financial year.
They also have to also pay the remaining amount in installments in the first nine months.
Assistant excise and taxation commissioner, Patiala, Lajpal Singh Jakhar, said according to the norms, liquor vends had to ensure that monthly payments of licence fee were made on time.
Deep Malhotra and Amrik Singh Dhillon could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.