Ludhiana liquor contractors shut vends as govt fails to provide relief
Earlier, too, when the state government had allowed the sale of liquor in the state, contractors in Ludhiana had refused to open the vends for at least a week.Updated: May 24, 2020 00:11 IST
Liquor contractors in over a dozen groups in Ludhiana kept their shutters down on Saturday, ruing the government’s failure to provide them relief against the losses incurred during the lockdown period. The city has 96 liquor groups, each having three to four vends on an average. Contractors in other groups are expected to follow suit in the coming days.
Areas where vends have been shut include the Model Town market, Malhar Road, Link Road (near Preet cinema), Model Town-Jawaddi road among other areas.
Earlier, too, when the state government had allowed the sale of liquor in the state, contractors in Ludhiana had refused to open the vends for at least a week. They had finally relented on May 15 after government assurance that relief would be provided soon.
Liquor contractor Varinder Sharma Bobby, who is leading the contractors, said, “Not only in Ludhiana, vends have been closed in Bathinda, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and some other places too. We had met ministers, including Vijay Inder Singla (education) and Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria (housing and urban development) last week and they had assured that relief would be provided soon. However, nothing has been done.”
Another contractor, on the condition of anonymity, said many were reluctant to open the vends due to low sales but they had earlier opened it under pressure from government and administration. “We want compensation for the loss incurred in the last financial year due to imposition of curfew on March 23. Huge sales are witnessed on March 31 every year but this year, the vends remained closed due to the curfew,” said the contractor, adding, “We also want the withdrawal of quota condition in the excise policy 2020-2021.”
Deputy excise and taxation commissioner (DETC) Pawan Garg said that government is expected to announce a relief for contractors in the coming few days. In the meantime, the department is trying to convince the contractors to open their vends, said Garg.