Bars at 5-star hotels to remain open 24x7 in Chandigarh
Come April, five-star hotels in Chandigarh will be able to serve liquor round the clock.
As of now, bars in city’s hotels and restaurants are allowed to operate only till 1am. However, in a bid to promote tourism in the city, the UT administration has made an exception for five-star hotels in its excise policy for 2020-21, which was finalised on Friday. These hotels have also been allowed to provide mini bars in rooms. Earlier, liquor could be served only in an area designated as a bar.
However, Bacchus lovers will have to pay more for liquor in the city, with prices set to go up by 10-15%, according to the policy. While it will continue to remain cheaper than in Punjab, it might become dearer than in Haryana.
The excise duty on the Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) has been increased by 10%, excluding high-end brands. The cow cess will also be applicable from April 1. This cess will be levied at ₹5 per bottle (750ml) on country liquor, ₹5 per bottle (650ml) on beer, and ₹10 per bottle (750ml) on whiskey.
Last year, the department had increased excise duty on IMFL by 20% and country liquor by 17%.
“The rule should be same for all hotels, whether big or small,” said Arvinder Pal Singh, president, Hotel and Restaurant Association, Chandigarh. “We had requested the administration to extend the time for serving liquor, but the policy favours only five-star hotels — JW Marriott, Hyatt Regency, The Lalit, Taj, Park Plaza and Mountview. If any hotel wants to serve liquor 24x7, it should be allowed to do so after paying extra fee.”
For promoting low alcoholic content beverages – beer and wine — and particularly to boost Indian wine industry, the licence fee has not been increased. It has been kept at ₹12,000 for the whole year. Further, label registration fee for wine has been reduced from ₹10,000 per brand to ₹7,500.
The excise duty to be paid by microbreweries has not been increased, and it will remain at 30 per BL (bulk litre) to shift consumers from hard liquor to soft liquor. Licence fee of microbreweries has also not been increased. Similarly, there is no change in the licence fee of departmental stores, which is ₹20 lakh, and there is no change in quota — 3,000 proof litre (PL).
With the number of vends increased from 92 to 95, the new excise policy will help earn ₹680 crore revenue in comparison to ₹617 crore in 2019-20, an increase of nearly 10%.
The licence fee of imported and Indian wine besides ready to drink beverages and imported beer to be granted to shops/establishments registered under the Goods and Service Tax Act, 2017, has been kept the same, at ₹2 lakh.
The basic quota of IMFL has not been increased, which is 100 lakh PL, whereas basic quota of country liquor has been doubled from 4 lakh PL to 8 lakh PL, with 10% conversion into IMFL.