The UT Administration has got down to brass tacks to frame Excise Policy 2013-14. And, the tipplers in the city are again in for a shock, just like previous year.
Besides liquor prices, the licensing fee for the allotment of liquor vends and excise duty on liquor is also likely to go up with the Excise Policy 2013-14 coming into effect from May 1.
Also, the highest revenue generating liquor vends and taverns being run from pre-fabricated structures along roadside in Chandigarh would be shifted to other locations here.
The UT Excise Department has already initiated the process to identify new locations to shift about 25 pre-fabricated structures along roadside in the Union Territory of Chandigarh.
These pre-fabricated structures are well-known for attracting hundreds of boozers from adjoining States of Punjab and Haryana. And, UT is likely to bear huge financial losses with the shifting of these pre-fabricated structures to other places.
The sites running from pre-fabricated vends are among the highest revenue-generating outlets for the UT Excise Department. In an auction held in April last, a pre-fabricated liquor vend in Sector 52 (opposite Sector 43 bus stand on Vikas Marg) had attracted the highest licence fee of Rs4.25 crore against the reserve price of Rs3.30 crore and another liquor vend located at Behlana village (near the Airport light point on the Chandigarh-Ambala road) had fetched licence fee of Rs4.25 crore against the reserve price of Rs3.13 crore.
With the directions given by Apex Court last year for shifting of pre-fabricated structures along roadside to other places here, the UT Administration faces a tough task to counterbalance the huge financial losses due to this while framing Excise policy 2013-14.
UT Finance-cum-Excise Secretary VK Singh while talking to The Pioneer said, “The licensing fee for liquor vends and excise duty on liquor is likely to go up this time too.”
He said, “The liquor would become costlier here. Considering the financial losses of small dealers here during current excise year and UT’s excise revenue generation below expectations, a slight increase in the cost of liquor is necessitated.”
Singh further said, “This year, all the liquor vends being run in pre-fabricated structures will be removed following the directions of Apex Court. This would be a great loss to the state exchequer as these pre-fabricated structures yielded huge revenue during auctions.”
“The Excise Department has started the process to identify new locations for about 25 pre-fabricated structures here,” he added.
With the Excise Policy 2012-13 coming into effect in May last, the city had seen substantial hike in the prices of liquor. The licence fee, excise duty, permit fee, import fee, assessment fee on liquor was enhanced in Chandigarh bringing the liquor prices here at par with Punjab and Haryana.
The UT Administration had enhanced the minimum retail sale rates of IMFL by 40-50 percent and beer by 10-13 per cent. Also, UT had introduced holograms on IMFL, IFL & Country Liquor packings of (except on Beer, wine, Champaign, liqueurs and RTD etc) to check smuggling of liquor and for quality assurance.
During the current fiscal 2012-13, the UT Administration had collected whopping amount of over Rs140 crore by allotting liquor licenses for liquor vends.
The Union Territory of Chandigarh has 217 liquor vends including 152 foreign and 65 country liquor vends.
According to the records of UT Excise and Taxation Department, Rs217.68 crore revenue was generated during current fiscal 2012-13 up to December 2012 and the figure is likely to cross Rs250 crore by the end of current fiscal year.
The revenue generation which was Rs133.74 crore in 2009-10 climbed to Rs142 crore in fiscal 2010-11. In 2011-12, the excise collection had crossed Rs200 crore mark for the first time in the city and the revenue collection was Rs210.40 crore.