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Peon, journalists among liquor shop licence aspirants in Gautam Budh Nagar

A peon, a safai karamchari, corporate executive, businessmen, politicians and journalists are among the applicants for 216 liquor shops in Gautam Budh Nagar with the UP government doing away with a separate excise policy for western region and putting the entire procedure online.

noida Updated: Mar 08, 2018 23:04 IST
Kapil Datta
Kapil Datta
Hindustan Times
UP excise policy,liquor shop licence Gautam Budh Nagar,liquor licence draw online
The draw for the licence of liquor shops was to scheduled to be held on Thursday but it was postponed due to technical glitch. The new date will be announced on Friday. (Virendra Singh Gosain/HT PHOTO)

A peon, a safai karamchari, corporate executive, businessmen, politicians and journalists – the applicants for a liquor shop licence in Gautam Budh Nagar district this year is a curious mix thanks to the liberalisation of the application process by the state government.

Aiming to break the monopoly of certain players on liquor trade in western Uttar Pradesh, the government, under its policy for 2018-19, has made the process completely online and removed the special status for the region under which it had a different policy from other areas of the state.

For the first time this year, the UP government is allotting liquor vends through an online lottery system.

“In 2009-10, a special Meerut zone was created, encompassing the districts of Meerut, Moradabad, Saharanpur and Bareilly. It was done for better enforcement of the excise policy and increase revenue. For this zone, the licence was issued to only those who would have a joint venture with state PSU. But, contrary to expectations, the zone recorded poor revenue. This special zone has been abolished in the latest liquor policy,” Rakesh Kumar Singh, District Excise Officer, Gautam Budh Nagar, said explaining the change in the policy.

There are 216 liquor shops in the district. An applicant can apply for two shops — one in his name and the other with a co-owner.

“Licence fee ranges from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 70 lakh. Applicants have to deposit a processing fee of Rs 15,000 for country liquor and foreign liquor shop and Rs 20,000 for a model shop. Besides this 10% licence fee has to be deposited as earnest money,” said Singh.

The online lottery for the licence was to be held on Thursday but a technical glitch delayed it. The process couldn’t start till 6pm. The applicants were then asked to come back at 9pm. Later, the draw was postponed and the applicants were told that the fresh date for the draw would be announced on Friday.

The advantage of easy application that the new policy offers and the lure of easy money by sub-letting the licence, which is a common practice, or co-owning a liquor shop, has people from different fields trying their luck at the draw.

“We have received over 7,400 applications from 750 people in four different categories,” said Pawan Mangal, District Informatics Officer, National Informatics Centre, Gautam Budh Nagar district, on Thursday.

Mangal said owing to the liberal process, people from all walks of life have applied this year.

Businessman Ravi Mehta, one of the applicants, said, “The lottery for liquor vends is just like the one for a residential plot of DDA or Noida authority where successful allottees make money overnight. The gamble is worth taking as it opens an opportunity to make lakhs.”

A peon employed with the Noida authority, requesting anonymity, said, “I have applied for an IMFL shop in my brother’s name. If successful, I can sell my allotment for a hefty amount. I will have no problem in furnishing a solvency certificate as my family is well off and we have enough property.”

For Dilip Sharma, a senior executive with a corporate, it’s a gamble worth Rs 20,000, which he can afford. “Even if I wouldn’t succeed, I will lose the processing fee of Rs 20,000. The rest of the amount would be returned,” Sharma said.

A journalist with a local newspaper was aiming to make what he earns in two years as salary. “I will get as much money from sale of allotment, overnight,” he said.

Even a safai karamchari is trying his luck. Gurcharan Singh, who works for a contractor engaged by the Noida authority, said, “I have applied for a beer shop licence.”

Factory worker, Narendra Sharma, said he would quit and run his own shop by roping a partner. “I will earn thrice of my monthly salary.”

Of the 115 foreign liquor shops, only one shop got no application. There are 129 beer shops and 13 of them did not have any takers. Applications were received for all 23 model wine shops.

First Published: Mar 08, 2018 23:04 IST