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Kya karein, kya na karein

THOUGH THE number of liquor consumers has increased in Uttar Pradesh, the sale of liquor is still insignificant and reaching revenue targets is proving to be an uphill task for the Excise Department.

india Updated: Jan 29, 2006 01:13 IST

THOUGH THE number of liquor consumers has increased in Uttar Pradesh, the sale of liquor is still insignificant and reaching revenue targets is proving to be an uphill task for the Excise Department.

In three months, the department has to collect Rs 1200 crore to meet the Rs 3200 crore target for the financial year 2005-06. At the end of December, the department had collected merely Rs 2081 crore, which is puzzling for officials, as the numbers of consumers have increased by six percent this year.

Even as the pressure of the State Government to achieve revenue target has increased, an exasperated Excise Department officials are leaving no stone unturned to achieve the target. The Excise officials said that sharp increase in revenue target has made it a daunting task.

In 2004-05, it was 2,700 crore and this year, a Rs 600-crore increase has been made in the target. On the other hand, they blamed the illicit liquor trade and smuggling of liquor from the neighboring states for the slump in the market.

Special secretary Excise UP Singh said the department had launched a massive crackdown on illicit liquor traders. The assistance of the police department has also been sought to nab illicit liquor traders, he said.

The rate of the liquor is lower in neighbouring states including Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana. Smugglers are trying to mint money by smuggling cheaper liquor into Uttar Pradesh.

A large quantity of country liquor manufactured in distilleries located in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan had been seized by Excise sleuths but Excise officials fear that still a large bulk of smuggled liquor is being dumped in UP. “We are planning to strengthen check posts on the border said another Excise official.

The department has initiated action against two-dozen inspectors on the charge of slackness. But the inspectors got a stay from the high court. In its order, the court said inspectors could not be penalised for increasing the sale of liquor. The gram panchayat and zila panchayat elections had saved some grace for the Excise Department. During the election, the excise department managed to collect Rs 100 crore.

“We are waiting for Holi with fingers crossed”, said Singh. “In Holi, the consumption of liquor increases and we hope to collect one-month’s revenue within two to three days,” he said.

First Published: Jan 29, 2006 01:13 IST