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Punjab News: Liquor business in the lap of big contractors, small players will be out in the new excise policy

The Excise Commissioner says that according to the new excise policy, the number of contracts across the state will remain the same and even if the number of circles is reduced due to large circles, then the employment opportunities in the retail sector will remain the same.

The fears of the small liquor traders of the state regarding the new excise policy of Punjab have proved to be true. Under the new policy, the government has almost made small businessmen out of this business by creating large circles of license holders, although the Excise Commissioner has claimed on behalf of the government that on the basis of the decisions taken in the meetings with the licensees, the new Policy has been finalized. On the other hand, small businessmen say that earlier the size of the circles was limited to Rs 7-8 crore and was accessible to them, but now in the new policy, the government has reduced the size of the clusters to Rs 30 crore. It is not just a matter of small businessmen to raise this amount.

Small liquor contractors of the state have raised questions on the new excise policy by forming a union. The union says that small businessmen will not be able to reach the circle of 30 crores and the entire business of liquor will go into the hands of big businessmen. The union says that small contractors in large circles will be completely eliminated in this business.

The union says that small contractors have the capacity to take contracts only in the circle of Rs 3-4 crore. The union also says that before making a new policy, the government took suggestions of big businessmen but did not talk to small businessmen. The union says that due to the large circle, liquor contracts will also remain in the hands of big businessmen.
Preference given to big circles to increase revenue
Punjab Excise Commissioner Varun Roojam has said that the number of circles has been reduced to increase the revenue. He said that during the meetings with the licensees before formulating the excise policy, there was a demand from the existing retail license holders that the size of the circle should be bigger than the current (7-8 crore) level and up to 30 crore level. He further said that this would reduce the enmity between the circles, whereas earlier enmity was common due to the small size of the group. He said that this would help weed out anti-social elements from the liquor business and bring efficiency in this business.

The number of liquor contracts will remain the same as before
The Excise Commissioner says that according to the new excise policy, the number of contracts across the state will remain the same and even if the number of circles is reduced due to large circles, then the employment opportunities in the retail sector will remain the same. He said that with this policy new employment opportunities would be created for the people of Punjab in the production sector related to liquor. Varun Roojam said that licenses for setting up distilleries, bottling plants and breweries have been reopened and the policy also allows setting up of malt production units in Punjab, with emphasis on setting up new ethanol plants. This will create new employment opportunities for the youth.
Consumption of alcohol will not increase by reducing the price
The Excise Commissioner has claimed that the consumption of liquor will not increase due to the fall in prices, but it will lead to lower prices for the customers. He said that Punjab was suffering due to smuggling from neighboring states and inter-state smuggling of liquor would come down due to reduction in the price of liquor. Varun Roojam said that this policy will really benefit the consumers.

He further said that the new policy proposes to strictly monitor the excise activities at the circle and district level, emphasizing on the coordination of the officers of the excise department with the district police. He said that the Excise Department has already liaised with the Punjab Police at the State level, under which Narcotics and Excise Cells have been set up at all District Police Headquarters.

Sale in pouches in areas with illicit liquor
The Excise Commissioner said that the new excise policy will stop illicit liquor, which had caused many deaths in the past. He said that with the new policy, low cost 40 degree PML can be sold in pouches in the illicit liquor affected areas of Punjab, which will without doubt prevent people from consuming illicit or illegal liquor. Varun Roojam said that instead of illicit liquor, people will get the option of legally prepared 40 degree PML cheap liquor, which will also curb illicit liquor withdrawal to a great extent.

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