Tribune News Service
Patiala, May 2
Fearing mounting losses due to the Covid-19 restrictions, many liquor traders in Punjab have demanded compensation for the lockdown days and curtailed working hours.
In their application, they have cited low sale and huge loss along with the “pressure” of drop in sale due to farmers’ agitation and the restricted hours of operation in 2020 and now in 2021.
As per the excise policy, any such relief can be provided to them by the Chief Minister. Traders claim that the state police had uncovered instances of manufacture and sale of illicit liquor in recent months when authentic liquor was not allowed to be home delivered like other items.
“We fear with no home delivery of liquor and curtailed hours of wine shops, the illegal trade will only mushroom as they would smuggle and drop liquor at homes,” said a liquor trader.
“Usually, 85 per cent of liquor sale takes place from 6 pm to 11 pm after factories and shops are closed. During the day, only 15 per cent sales are reported. Imposition of lockdown since April 26 and complete lockdown from Friday 6 pm to Monday 5 am has hit the sales badly,” said another trader.
The letter reads: “We request the government to waive the licence renewal fee for the month of April 2021 as liquor trade, restaurants and other eating joints are already facing losses due to fresh restrictions.”
A Venu Prasad, Principal Secretary, Excise and Taxation, said: “As of now, no decision has been taken in this regard. We will look into the issue.”
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