UP government cuts liquor sale hours from April 1; traders say move will squeeze biz | lucknow | Hindustan Times
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UP government cuts liquor sale hours from April 1; traders say move will squeeze biz

The Uttar Pradesh government has decided that shops selling liquor would open from 12 noon instead of 9 am and close by 10 pm in place of the present 11 pm, excise department officials said.

lucknow Updated: Mar 27, 2018 16:35 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey
Though the MGQ is fixed for a given year but the traders are required to divide the quota equally for every month.
Though the MGQ is fixed for a given year but the traders are required to divide the quota equally for every month. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The Uttar Pradesh government has decided that shops selling liquor would open from 12 noon instead of 9 am and close by 10 pm in place of the present 11 pm, excise department officials said.

According to people involved in liquor sale, the loss of four hours loss in sale will hit their business, especially when the excise department has revised the minimum guarantee quota (MGQ) for country-made liquor sellers along with a sharp hike in licence fee.

The government officials, however, term the apprehensions baseless.

“I guess the apprehension of sales being hit due to revised timings is a bit exaggerated. There are timings for everything. People will eventually get acclimatised to the change,” an excise department official said.

The government has made it mandatory for country-made liquor sellers in rural areas to pick up 66,000 litres of liquor annually. Similarly, shops in urban areas will have to necessarily buy 26,700 litres of MGQ of country-made liquor.

Though the MGQ is fixed for a given year but the traders are required to divide the quota equally for every month.

“Earlier, the MGQ varied according to the location of shops. Now, it has been fixed irrespective of the area. This will surely affect many involved in the business,” a liquor seller said.

Perhaps, this is the reason why several country-made shops failed to find any takers even after third e-tender this month.

UP excise minister Jai Pratap Singh said it was the first time that shops were being allotted through e-lottery.

The first e-tendering on March 8 was marred by technical glitches. On March 19, the process was better organised when majority of 26,000-odd shops in the state were allotted.

The third round of e-tendering was held on Monday where nearly 5,000 shops were up for allotment, officials said adding that though 2,388 shops found takers, another 2,700 were yet to be allotted.

Excise commissioner Dheeraj Sahu said there was nothing unusual as many shops remained unallotted every year.

However, liquor traders said as the government was also doing away with the system of automatic renewals of shops and replacing it with annual e-lottery, there was a feeling that the government was squeezing the trade.

Refuting the claims of liquor traders, an excise department official said the government was providing a level-playing field to all as earlier the business was tilted in favour of a few.

The new system has come with the rider that no person would be allotted more than two shops in a district.