Liquor lobby in Uttar Pradesh opposes e-lottery, financial status certificate
The liquor lobby in Uttar Pradesh announced its opposition to the state government’s new excise policy, saying its various provisions will end up harming the smaller vendors and nullify the benefits that they expected after the scrapping of the special excise zone.lucknow Updated: Jan 30, 2018 15:35 IST
The liquor lobby in Uttar Pradesh announced its opposition to the state government’s new excise policy, saying its various provisions will end up harming the smaller vendors and nullify the benefits that they expected after the scrapping of the special excise zone.
On Monday many of them met excise minister Jai Pratap Singh to apprise him of their concern.
In 2008, a special excise zone, comprising nearly two dozen districts of Bareilly, Moradabad Meerut, Saharanpur and Agra divisions, was carved out and handed over to an influential liquor baron who monopolised the retail and wholesale liquor trade.
The Yogi Adityanath government decided to scrap the excise zone but the liquor lobby claimed that several provisions of the new policy would still end up harming them.
For instance, the government has done away with the policy of renewal of liquor shops. It has instead decided that people would have to make e-bids for getting shops allotted.
While the government move is aimed at bringing in transparency, the liquor lobby is sceptical that the decision will reduce the say of the state’s liquor sellers, opening up the trade for outsiders.
“Now, anyone could make a bid from anywhere. Previously, there was the system of a draw of lots before the district magistrate or any other competent authority. We all knew each other and at the end of it all there was this satisfaction that someone from the state has got it. Now, one would not know if outsiders are controlling the trade through dummy owners,” said Kanhaiyalal Maurya, general secretary of the Lucknow Sharab Association.
SP Singh, the president of the association, also said the liquor traders will oppose the move to make only those eligible, who submit details of their financial standing, for participating in the e-lottery system.
“They want ‘haisiyat praman patra’ that basically means a certificate of our financial standing. Now, the certificate takes a long time to be made and moreover there are practical problems involved with the move. Smaller players will be wiped out if this stays,” said the liquor sellers.
The liquor sellers also say that the government was mulling a move to reduce the time of opening and closure of liquor shops. “We hear that from next fiscal the government has decided to allow opening of shops from noon and reduce the time by an hour at night. This will also mean a loss to us and with fewer hours, we will be able to sell less. This will create more problems for smaller traders who have to necessarily pick up their countrymade liquor’s minimum guarantee quota. If they don’t pick up their quota, they are fined and if they do, they will struggle to sell it in fewer hours,” Maurya said.