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Cartel stalls sale of country liquor vends in Haryana
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
The Haryana Government will continue with its new excise policy of allotment of liquor vends and would not make any change despite serious efforts being made by a lobby of old contractors to torpedo it.

The lobby, which failed to torpedo the policy in regard to Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL), has succeed to an extent in its designs as far as country liquor (CL) is concerned. Out of about 2600 CL vends, about 1100 still remain unallotted as there were no takers even after the second round of allotments. About 97 per cent of the IMFL vends have been allotted.

The sources say Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has directed the Excise Department to continue with the policy, which aims at breaking the monopoly of the big sharks over the liquor trade and giving level field to small operators also.

Interestingly, the majority of the CL vends remained unallotted in areas of Jhajjar, Rohtak, Hisar, Fatehabad and Sirsa. The sources say last year the liquor trade in these areas was controlled by two big operators, one of whom is a close relative of the former Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala. The sources say the big operators launched a misinformation campaign that since the government had decontrolled the supply of molasses to the distilleries, the latter would be at liberty to fix the price of CL. Many small operators were disuaded by this campaign. The big operators, the sources said, also spread rumours that the government would partially revert back to the old auction policy to dispose off unallotted vends.

The distilleries of Haryana today gave a written undertaking to the Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Mr H.S. Rana, that they would supply country liquor during the next financial year at rates applicable in 2005-06 and there would not be any increase even if the prices of molasses went up. 

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