Monday, March 6, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Prohibition in holy cities
Punjab to have excise police
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 5 — The new Punjab excise policy, approved by the Council of Ministers here tonight, introduces prohibition in the religious cities and towns of the state; enhances education cess to raise Rs 20 crore; encourages small bidders also by reducing security amount by 3 per cent; fixes quota for Indian-made foreign liquor and enables licencees to lift 15 per cent of the quota from any distillery in the state; and introduces the concept of excise police to curb illicit distillation, smuggling and excise-related crime with a provision for separate excise police stations at each district headquarter.

The new policy, according to a press note, issued here, which quotes the Chief Secretary, is claimed to be “transparent” with an element of “equitable competitive spread” to fetch a higher revenue for the state. Though figures are not mentioned, either of the current year’s performance or the expected returns in 2000-01, the policy envisages “substantial” increase in projected revenue.

The prohibition has been enforced in the precincts of the ‘walled city” in Amritsar and municipal limits or “lal lakir” of Anandpur Sahib, Talwandi Sabo (both have a Takht each: Keshgarh Sahib and Damdama Sahib, respectively), Chamkaur Sahib, Bhaini Sahib, Kiratpur Sahib, Raian and Muktsar.

The education cess or “levy” rates would be as follows: the rates of additional levy have been increased from Rs 3 per proof litre to Rs 4 per p.l. for IMFL (Indian-made foreign liquor) and Rs 2 per p.l. from Rs 1 per p.l. for beer. The rate for Punjab-made liquor (PML) will also be increased from Rs 1 per p.l. to Rs 2 per p.l., which together will mean an additional resource of Rs 20 crore for promotion of educational infrastructure in the state.

There is a reduction from 15 per cent to 12 per cent in the security amount to enable small bidders with less capital to come forward and participate in the auction, thereby, generating “revenue and competition.” The licencees have been allowed to lift 15 per cent of their quota of p.m.l. from any distillery, which will help them select brands of their choice, depending on consumer preferences in their area.

The excise duty for economy and medium brands has been reduced from Rs 40 to Rs 25 per p.l. of IMFL. This is intended to reduce the sale price of the IMFL and also discourage smuggling of IMFL outside Punjab.

For the first time, quota of IMFL has been fixed to prevent undercutting and bulk sale of liquor and help maintain price, enabling larger margin to retailers. Earlier it was an “open” house.

Punjab will have excise police of its own. The strength will be equal to a battalion. This will comprise of PAP (IRB-India Reserve Battalion) and Punjab police. An officer of the rank of Senior Superintendent of Police will head the new force. There will be separate excise police stations at district headquarters.

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