In a move that will cheer beer lovers, the Punjab excise and taxation department has launched a toll-free helpline for lodging complaints about overpricing.
“If a liquor licensee charges more than the maximum retail sale price, the customer can lodge a complaint at the helpline number 18002582580,” said Anurag Verma, excise and taxation commissioner, Punjab.
The department has fixed the maximum retail sale price of strong beer at Rs 130 for each 650-ml bottle of popular brands such as Haywards 500, Thunderbolt and Kingfisher. For light beer of these brands, the retail sale price has been pegged at Rs 120 per 650-ml bottle.
In an effort to protect customers from exploitation by any licensee, a price monitoring cell has been set up in the department. This cell comprises additional excise and taxation commissioner (excise) Neelam Chaudhary, joint excise and taxation commissioner-cum-director (investigation) Gurtej Singh and deputy excise and taxation commissioner (distilleries) Navdeep Bhinder.
Verma said in case any licensee was found selling beer at a price higher than these rates, a fine of Rs 1 lakh would be imposed. In case of the second violation, a fine of Rs 5 lakh would be imposed on the licensee; for the third violation, the licence would be cancelled.