Draw of lots of liquor vends: Excise dept richer by Rs 73 crore
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Finally, the Excise and Taxation department has geared up for the draw of lots of liquor vends scheduled for March 22. The department has earned a revenue of Rs 73 crore from the application fee alone. It was Rs 55 crore in the last financial year. Though the number of applications were 12,093 for Ludhiana district and Fatehgarh Sahib, which comes under the Ludhiana excise department, compared to last year when the number of applications were 12,022, however there was an increase in the application fee from Rs 55,000 to Rs 70,000.
Within the Ludhiana MC limits, the number of applications grew from 4,800 last year to 5,500 this year, confirmed Deputy Excise and Taxation Commissioner Kamalpreet Kaur Brar.
Not only this, even the number of vends within the MC limit has gone up from 353 to 423, thus showing the double standard of the government regarding a `drug free' Punjab.
The Ponty Chadha group, which had filed minimum applications last year and had decided to pull out from liquor business of Punjab are back in action, as sources confirmed that Ponty group were set to participate enthusiastically in the draw of lots, this year.
The number of groups last year was 25, and even this year the number is the same, however the number of vends under each group had increased from 16-17 this year, compared to 14-15 earlier. In a bid to end competition, village vends like Bharo munna and Adda jodha have been merged in the MC limits.
The department is now asking the contractors to open vends at new locations on Bharat Nagar Chowk and Ferozepur Road, where earlier there were no vends. The liquor quota for Punjab had increased by 5%, confirmed Excise and Taxation Commissioner Anurag Verma.
The license fee of one group, which was Rs 13.5 crore is now Rs 14.25 crore. The liquor prices of various brands is likely to go up, as the department raised its fee in every section, and contractors said that they also needed to equal their profits.
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