CITCO to run unsold liquor vends in Chandigarh : The Tribune India

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CITCO to run unsold liquor vends in Chandigarh

UT rolls out Excise Policy for fiscal 2024-25

CITCO to run unsold liquor vends in Chandigarh

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Tribune News Service

Dushyant Singh Pundir

Chandigarh, February 21

After 18 out of the total 95 liquor vends remained unsold even after 20 e-auctions in the financial year 2023-24, the UT Excise and Taxation Department on Wednesday rolled out the Excise Policy for the year 2024-25, giving several relaxations. The policy will be implemented from the coming April 1.

The rates of liquor have not been increased in the new policy. For the first time, the policy stated that any liquor vend remaining unsold will be run by Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation Limited (CITCO). The firm was incorporated as a company under the Companies Act-1956 and at present runs various hotels and petrol pumps in the city.

In the new policy, a provision has been introduced to debar persons convicted of a criminal offence from obtaining any type of liquor licence.

The department will introduce the “Track and Trace” system to curb illegal sale of liquor. The bar code and batch number will provide all information regarding the manufacturer, manufacturing date and other content.

Also, the fee for participation in the auction of each liquor vend has been slashed from Rs 3.50 lakh to Rs 2 lakh. The department has also reduced the reserve price of the liquor vends from Rs 486 crore to Rs 452 crore. The quota of the Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) has been decreased from 18.51 lakh cases to 17.39 lakh cases, while the quota of imported liquor has been increased from 74,000 cases to 1.74 lakh cases.

Only 84 liquor vends will be auctioned this time. Last year, there were 95 liquor vends put up for auction, and 18 of these remained unsold.

As per the policy, one licensee can take 10 liquor vends. To promote low alcoholic drinks, licence fee and duty have been kept the same on beer, wine, RTD (ready to drink), etc.

Darshan Singh Kler, the president of the Wine Contractors’ Association, said the policy would again prove to be a damp squib as they had neither slashed the excise duty nor the value added tax (VAT). “We had told the officers concerned that if these changes are not implemented, 50% of the vends will remain vacant in the fiscal 2024-25. Also, many contractors, who were doing business in Chandigarh, have shifted to Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, and Haryana,” he said.

Major takeaways

  • Only 84 vends to go under hammer
  • No licence to persons convicted in criminal cases
  • Liquor rates not increased
  • Auction participation fee slashed from Rs 3.50 lakh to Rs 2 lakh
  • Reserve price down from Rs 486 crore to Rs 452 crore
  • Quota of IMFL has been decreased from 18.51 lakh to 17.39 lakh cases
  • Quota of imported liquor up from 74,000 cases to 1.74 lakh cases
  • ‘Track and Trace’ system to curb illegal sale of liquor
  • Two new retail sale licensing units will come up in Kaimbwala village and Khuda Ali Sher

Will prove to be damp squib

The policy will again prove to be a damp squib as they neither slashed the excise duty nor VAT. We told the officers concerned that if these changes are not implemented, 50% of the vends will remain vacant in the fiscal 2024-25. — Darshan Singh Kler, president, Wine Contractors’ Assn

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