Traders in Uttarakhand feel heat as liquor sales miss target
With the current financial year coming to an end, several liquor shop owners across the state are having a hard time to fill the government coffersdehradun Updated: Mar 16, 2018 22:18 IST
With the current financial year coming to an end, several liquor shop owners across the state are having a hard time to fill the government coffers.
A liquor retail shop license holder in Nainital district said he was a tense man these days.
“For small investors like me, liquor is a loss making business. I am not able to sell the stock and the excise department forcing me to collect more quota as pay the fee,” said the trader who prefers to remain anonymous.
The BJP government had set a target of ₹2,310 crore revenue from the liquor business this year. So far, it has collected ₹2,100 crore.
With two weeks remaining before this financial year comes to an end, the target is unlikely to be achieved.
Excise minister Prakash Pant said the year has been a challenging owing to the Supreme Court directives to remove the liquor shops from the national highways.
The order was later relaxed for Uttarakhand and other hill states.
“We are roughly sort of ₹150 crore from the set target. But I am satisfied. The targets were scaled up and it will further stretch to ₹2,500 crore in the coming financial year,” the minister told Hindustan Times.
The government has also principally agreed to introduce the e-auctioning for the allotment of liquor shops. Pant said e-auctioning will ensure fair play in the business.
“Earlier the lottery system for the allotments of shop was adopted. But e-auctioning will altogether a different ball game. The shop will go the highest bidder. It’s a win-win situation for everyone” Pant said.
The government claims that e-auctioning of shops will also break the monopoly of “syndicate”.
However, there is no clarity whether government will also increase the retail price of different brand of liquors in a bid to fill the coffers.
“Increasing retail price will not help as a large number of cheap liquor is already being smuggled from Haryana into state. On the other hand, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand at present has similar price rates,” said a senior sales executive of a major liquor brand.
The minister agreed smuggling is pinching the industry and coffers. He, however, denied that anti-liquor movements erupted earlier were “genuine”.
According to industry insiders, people consume anything between 52 to 55 lakh cases of liquor every year in the hill state. A case comprises 12 bottles.