Friday, February 15, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Country liquor to cost less in Haryana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
Country liquor will become cheaper in Haryana as the new excise policy of the state, approved at a meeting of the Cabinet here today held under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, brought down excise duty on such liquor from Rs 21 per proof litre to Rs 11. An official release said that the duty was reduced “to minimise smuggling from neighbouring states”.

It was also decided that liquor vends in the districts will be divided into groups and the auction system replaced by the tender system. Tenders will be invited after fixing the reserve price of each group.

The reserve price will be worked out on the basis of last year’s revenue, the licence fee and decrease in the revenue due to the reduction in excise duty. Tenders will be invited simultaneously for all groups in the state. Steps will also be taken to ensure that the financial position of an individual or firm is such that it is at least equivalent to 5 per cent of the licence fee.

The interested parties will be free to make offers for as many groups they wish in any number of districts. Tenders will be opened in the presence of the parties. The entire procedure will be videorecorded and the licence awarded to the highest bidder in each group.

In case two tenders for the same amount are received and they are also the highest tenders, the presiding officers will invite revised tenders from such bidders to be submitted immediately.

The Cabinet also decided to increase the total number of vends from 1,550 to 1,600 besides merging the licence fee of country liquor and Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) in case a group has both country liquor and IMFL vends.

The Cabinet also retained the existing quota of country liquor of 450 lakh proof litres during 2002-2003. However, the quota of IMFL was reduced from 200 lakh proof litres to 180. The licence to sell beer will be given to rural country liquor licensees at a fee of Rs 1 lakh per vend. It was also decided to discontinue selling country liquor in plastic pouches in view of environmental problems. Plastic bottles will also be replaced by glass ones in a phased manner.

The new policy gives incentives to L-2 licensees that they may, within their area, tie up with hotels and restaurants having good facilities like rooms and dining halls and get L-4 or L-5 licences at a fee of Rs 5 lakh per year. The decision has been taken to regulate the unauthorised consumption of liquor at such places. Such L-4 and L-5 licensees will not require to possess star rating and be subject to examination or recommendation of the officers’ committee. Except in cases of hotels and restaurants having three star and above ratings, request for grant of such L-4 and L-5 licence would be considered only if consent of L-2 licensee of that group was obtained where such hotel or restaurant was located.

There will be no excise duty on imported liquor. However, the imported liquor will be liable to sales tax at the rate of 20 per cent. Under the new policy, the charges of Rs 50,000 required for seeking temporary licence (L-12-A) have been reduced to Rs 2,500 per day. The limit for possession of IMFL bottles in case of L-50 licenses (mini bar) has been enhanced from 12 bottles to 24 bottles. Also, they have been allowed a one time licence for 10 years at a fee of Rs 5,000. Also, 24 bottles of beer will be allowed to a L-50 licensee.

It was decided that in case a licensee failed to lift his quota, the licence fee would be increased by 5 per cent and he would have to pay a total licence fee of 105 per cent. Also, if proportionate quota was not lifted till January 2003, the security amount to the extent of 5 per cent of the licence fee would not be adjusted towards the license fee for February and March 2003 till he lifted his prescribed quota for the year.

The Cabinet also approved the proposal of the department to constitute a committee of officers to examine the request of new entrants desirous of marketing their product in Haryana. This committee would look into the facilities at the distillery, reputation of the product, etc. Fresh L-1B licences would be granted on the recommendations of this committee. Under the new policy, import fee on IMFL was increased from Rs 5 per proof litre to Rs 7 per proof litre but export fee on country liquor and IMFL was reduced from Rs 5 per litre and Rs 3 per proof litre, respectively, to Re 1 per proof litre. The franchise fee on IMFL was enhanced from Rs 5 per proof litre to Rs 7 per proof litre.

It was decided that under the tender system, the earnest money would be 5 per cent of the reserve price as compared to Rs 2 lakh in case of system of auctions earlier. While 5 per cent of the reserve price as earnest money would accompany the tender, the highest bidder would be required to pay balance amount (less 8.33 per cent) within 10 days of the confirmation of bid or March 31, 2002, whichever is earlier.

Further, 8.33 per cent of the licence fee would be payable by April 7, 2002. The monthly instalments of the licence fee would have to be paid by 20th of each month failing which interest at the rate of 2 per cent would be charged. If the monthly instalment was not deposited by the end of the month, operation of vends would be seized.

The licence fee of additional godown, within 100 metres of the existing vend has been doubled to Rs 50,000. In case of minimum retail sale price of IMFL, it would be fixed brand-wise by the department and there would be no change in the minimum price of country liquor. The maximum price of beer at retail outlets would not exceed Rs 50 per bottle of 650 ml.

The Cabinet also approved a proposal of the Jails Department to stand guarantee for raising loan of Rs 23.08 crore from HUDCO for construction of a new jail at Karnal.Back


Bonfires of cards mark Valentine’s Day

New Delhi, February 14
Eight Shiv Sena activists were detained even as hundreds of them opposed the Valentine’s Day celebrations in the Capital today by lighting bonfires of greeting cards and distributing handbills urging people not to celebrate the “western festival” of love.

The police conducted overnight raids at the residences of several office-bearers of the Shiv Sena, but most of them gave a slip to the uniformed men who could only detain three activists — two of them in the Chandni Chowk area in the walled city and one in Karawal Nagar in East Delhi, Delhi Shiv Sena President Jai Bhagwan Goel said.

Five others, including the Bharatiya Vidyarthi Sena President Hirdesh Agarwal, were detained in the Bhajanpura area today, he added. UNIBack

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