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Liquor traders appeal Govt to intervene to stop harassment of the license holders
4/22/2024 10:10:04 PM
Early Times Report
JAMMU, Apr 22: J&K Liquor Traders Association held a press conference at Jammu to appeal Government for its intervention.JKLTA said, the Finance Department every year notifies the J&K Excise Policy for the next Financial Year. This year on 1 February, 2024, Government announced the J&K Excise Policy for the year 2024-25 and in each policy, duties and fees are defined which are imposed on the manufacture, transport and sale of liquor. This year due to upward revision i.e. increase in the Excise Duty, Assessment Fee and other duties, price of each bottle of the liquor has increased from Rs. 15 to Rs. 50 per 750 ml of bottle of various brands.
Representative of the JKLTA further said All shops were allotted by the Excise aDepartment well in time before the beginning of FY 2024-25 so that on 1 April, all shops are made functional. The stock of liquor already available with the ex-licensee as well as from the wholesale trades was immediately transferred for operationalization of new shops on 1 April itself which is a history in the Excise Department that soon after culmination of earlier licenses, new shops were in place without making any chance for bootlegging or malpracticing in procurement of liquor through other illegal sources.
As already informed, the liquor bottles which were transferred from the existing stock of the licensee as well as procured from the wholesale vends were having labels with old MRP, however, Government after fixing duties, revised the MRP by Rs. 15 to 50 in different brands of liquor. Since, department was collecting its duties and taxes at revised rates, therefore, on each bottle the revised MRP was fixed and the liquor is sold strictly as per revised MRP fixed by the department.
Some mischievous elements are trying to build wrong narrative in public that extra charges are being taken by some liquor vends. Excise dept has increased the excise duty in new excise policy due to which MRP and printed prices have some difference because of old labels pasted on all bottles. Bottles with new label will be available in market from next months.
He further said that we have been harassed by the Police, District Administration as well as Excise Department on frivolous complaints by the blackmailers who posed themselves as Social Workers and either demand free bottles of liquor on hafta system from the vendors and in case, the same is refused, they lodge complaint against us at various fora from LG Grievance Cell, Civil Administration, Election Cell and Excise Department. This has overall discouraged the rule bound licensees who always sell liquor at MRP fixed by the department.
Recently, the Expenditure Observer visited number of shops and despite not getting even a single bottle excess or less than the stock position indicating in the Excise Register, harassed us with fine of Rs 1 lakh. We have given more than 282 crores of revenue to the Government after participating in the transparent bidding process complying with all the conditions of the license but we are being harassed by these blackmailers so that we get discouraged and the old system of perpetual licenses return and their monopoly is restored in this liquor trade.
We were told to install IPCC cameras in Shops and Cameras and GPS in Vehicles which are hired from the market and it has a huge financial implication on our businesses. Internet facilities are not available in remote areas so it is not possible for license holders in remote areas to install wifi at their shops to make cameras online. Officers of Election Commission are not well versed with the rules and regulations of State Excise Policy and Act due to which unnecessary penalties are imposed on licences. Directions were given not to sale products more than the average sale, this is the marriage season and sale of liquor used to be comparatively higher than the normal days, however, we have been harassed, if more than one bottle of liquor is given to anyone and in some cases, our salesmen are thrashed and put behind bars for following the legitimate government directions. Regular pressure from all departments are making our day to day operations very difficult, He further added.
He further appealed to govt If same pressure persists for more days we will be compelled to surrender our licenses. We request UT Govt and Election Commission to take necessary actions to stop this regular harassment of License holders on the basis of complaints and press conferences held by these blackmailers.
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