Contractors refuse to reopen liquor vends, want fee cut - ECAS Punjab

Contractors refuse to reopen liquor vends, want fee cut

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Ruchika M Khanna

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5

Uncertainty prevails over the opening of liquor vends in the state with contractors raising a banners of revolt. They say they won't open the vends till the government allows them relaxation in the payment of licence fee.

There are nearly 5,800 liquor vends in the state, which were to reopen on Wednesday. Amid parleys with the Excise and Taxation Department, that continued till late in the evening, liquor contractors in various districts told the officials that the vends would not be opened till the time the government changed the excise policy. They are demanding that the clause regarding the fixed quota of liquor they are supposed to lift each month should be done away with for the remaining duration of the lockdown period.

Varinder Sharma, Ludhiana contractors' representative, said the licence fee to be paid on each case of liquor was fixed, so was the quota of liquor. "In these times, when nine lakh migrants, a major chunk of customers who consume PML, are leaving the state, our sales won't be the same. We can't pay heavy licence fee for a fixed quota when the sales will drop sharply. The quota should be on the basis of actual sale," he said. Sharma said that while Haryana had allowed some relaxations to the contractors, Punjab too should follow the suit. It is learnt that the Excise and Taxation Department is proposing some relaxations in the payment of licence fee. The matter will be taken up in a meeting of the Cabinet on Thursday.

Oppose home delivery of booze

The contractors have objected to the government's decision to start home delivery of liquor, saying that this would promote illicit liquor trade. They say each year the contractors suffer losses because of smuggling of cheaper liquor from Haryana and Chandigarh into the state. They fear that the system of home delivery could be run solely through smuggled liquor, hitting their business badly.

from The Tribune

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