Ruchika M Khanna
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, May 4
Punjab will begin home delivery of liquor after the 9 am-1 pm opening hours. Instructions in this regard have been issued by the Excise and Taxation Department. Liquor vends in the state are to reopen on May 6.
Having incurred Rs 500 crore excise duty loss in April, by allowing home delivery between 1 pm and 6 pm, the government hopes to boost liquor sale, hence enabling the licencees to pay pending excise duty.
“When the lockdown was announced, old licencees were granted extension and they paid 60 per cent of the fee.The remaining had to be paid in the last week of March,” explained Vivek Pratap Singh, Excise and Taxation Commissioner.
“Also, if liquor is home-delivered, it will prevent crowding at the vends,” he added. But licencees say liquor being cheaper in neighbouring Haryana and Chandigarh, the move is bound to encourage smuggling. Liquor licencees have written to the CM, seeking 50% cut in the licence fee and more time to deposit the pending fee, according to Varinder Sharma, a contractor.
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