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Raising the bar: Raj hotels told to sell more liquor or pay fine

August 09, 2019 05:36 AM


Raising the bar: Raj hotels told to sell more liquor or pay fine


Far from discouraging alcohol consumption, the state government is going to extremes and using every possible avenue to push sales to replenish its coffers drained out by the imprudent financial planning.

In a bid to shore up revenues, the government has already raised retail liquor prices, licence fees and VAT this year. But now it is forcing bars in hotels, restaurants and beer lounges to increase sales. In the past few days, around 300 bars in hotels have received notices to pay a penalty for not selling 10% more liquor, compared to last year.

“The authorities concerned want us to increase sales by 10%. Many hotels face competition due to the increase in the number of bars and failed to register a 10% growth in sales. Now these hotels have been issued notices to pay penalty for not selling more alcohol than last year,” said Dilip Tiwari, secretary of Hotel Bar Owners Welfare Association.

The government is raising prices of liquor frequently on the one hand and want us to sell more, which is very contradictory, he said. After increasing beer prices from Rs 109 per bottle to Rs 127 on June 30, the department raised the cost of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) by 15% on Wednesday.

Previously, only retail shops were covered under the policy of increasing liquor offtake from the government by 10% every year. But without consulting bar owners, the excise department has also now brought bars under the policy.

Tiwari said it was possible for retail shops to increase sales by 10% because their number remains constant.

The government does not increase the number of retail shop licences when it invites applications. But the case is not the same for hotels. “Bars are on the rise every year, resulting in lower footfalls. For us, it is not possible to increase sales by 10% every year as in the case of retail shops whose number remains constant,” Tiwari said.

He said the licence fee for the current year has been increased for bars from Rs 7 lakh to 8 lakh. This comes after VAT was raised from 20% to 24%. “The rising cost of liquor is also slowing down sales,” he said.

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