In order to avoid overcharging of liquor, the Punjab excise and taxation department has fixed the maximum sale price of the liquor to be supplied at the marriage palaces.
Excise and taxation commissioner Anurag Verma informed that though this decision was taken by deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal during the formulation of excise policy 2014-15, but this could not be publicised due to the enforcement of the model code of conduct for parliamentary elections that concluded last month.
The decision is effective from April 1, 2014.
Verma said that now all the assistant excise and taxation commissioners (AETCs) had been asked to send these rates to all marriage palace owners in their area and to request them to prominently display these rates at their marriage palaces and banquet halls.
"All the excise and taxation officers (ETOs) have been directed to give a copy of these rates to the organizers of the function at the time of grant of L-50A permit for serving liquor at the marriage palaces or banquet halls," he said.
He added that though in excise policy a revenue increase of 18% i.e. 750 crore had been done, the rates fixed were almost on a par with or slightly lower than the rates prevailing in the market during the previous financial year.
"These rates are only the upper ceiling and the organizer is free to buy liquor from any vend in the excise circle in which the marriage palace is located and not necessarily from the nearest vend," he said.
Verma said tough norms for penalty in case of overcharging had been also fixed as for the first offence the penalty would be Rs one lakh, for second, it would be `two lakh and for the third offence the liquor vend would be closed for one month.
However, if any organizer of any function is charged a higher amount he should either complain immediately to the ETO or to the AETC of the area or may also lodge a complaint at helpline number 18002582580.
Meanwhile, he said owners of marriage palaces informed the department that at some palaces henchmen of the licensees enter marriage palaces and usually indulged in hooliganism.
"The henchmen have no authority to enter the marriage palace and conduct any checking. Only the ETO (excise) or the excise inspector has been authorised to conduct the checking and that too with the prior permission of the AETC concerned," he said.