Sale of liquor at a lower price by a contractor has forced other contractors to slash the rates, bringing a relief to the booze lovers these days in the city.
Since allotment in March, Charanjit Singh Bajaj, who owns two zones of liquor vends in Ludhiana, had kept the liquor price lower, especially beer as compared to the other contractors.
A syndicate (pool) of liquor contractors operating in the city had allegedly forced Bajaj to join them and increase the rates of liquor. However, Bajaj did not join them, so others are now forced to decrease the cost of liquor, even more than that of Bajaj.
Due to reduced price, most of the buyers were thronging the vends owned by Bajaj, affecting the business of the other contractors.
The tussle between the giants has resulted in a gain for boozers, who earlier had to pay `150 for a beer bottle, are buying it for just `90 from most of the vends. As there is no cap on the maximum sale price of liquor in Punjab, the contractors were fleecing the residents.
An official from the excise department, who claims to be not authorised to media, said, “Under pressure, some groups have decreased the cost of liquor. The cost of beer has been lowered to `90 that is `10 lesser than the Bajaj group that charges `100 per bottle.”
After the allotment of liquor vends in March this year, Bajaj had alleged that the excise department as well as a few contractors were forcing him to join the syndicate. As he had got two zones that include more than 40 liquor vends, Bajaj had claimed he wanted to provide liquor at lower cost to the residents.
Satinder Singh, a resident of Gumar Mandi, said that the cost of liquor was increasing tremendous since Apri 1 when new vends started operating. “It is a relief to the booze lovers that the price of different brands of liquor have been decreased now,” he added.