From April 1, city residents will have to shell out 10 to 20% more for Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL), but will also have additional two hours at night to savour their favourite drinks at Chandigarh’s restaurants and pubs, while round-the-clock service will be available at 3- and 4-star hotels.
In the excise policy 2022-2023 announced on Friday, the UT administration hiked the excise duty on Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL) by 5.5%, but did not change the duty on wine and beer.
However, with introduction of e-vehicle cess, which will be levied per bottle, liquor prices will increase by ₹2 to ₹40.
Giving a boost to the city’s night life, two-hour extension in closure timings – up to 3am – has been allowed for restaurants, bars and hotels on payment of additional licence fees. So far, their closure deadline was 1am and last order had to be taken an hour before.
Also, the 3- and 4-star hotels, in addition to existing 5-star hotels, after payment of additional fees, will be allowed to serve liquor 24×7.
Perks for industry
Considering the request of the hotel and restaurant associations, the administration has not made any change in their licence fee.
To ensure availability of more variety and brands, the label/brand registration fee will also remain the same.
Administration has also allowed the sale of imported ready-to-drink (RTD) alcoholic beverages in the city, while not increasing the licence fees and duties on beer, wine and Indian RTD beverages to promote low-alcoholic drinks.
Covid rebate, such as pro-rata reversal of licence fees, as given last year, will continue for all retail vends, bars, restaurants, hotels, clubs, etc.
For countrymade liquor, 65 proof has been introduced, apart from the existing 50 and 60 proof to provide consumers more choice and make better quality of liquor.
Violations to be penalised
The administration will introduce the “Track and Trace” system to curb illegal sale of liquor. All bottles will be labelled with barcode, detailing information regarding its journey from manufacturer to retail stores.
Stringent penalty will be imposed for not adhering to minimum retail sale price by liquor vends that will be sealed for three days in case of first violation itself.
Vendors selling expired liquor will have to pay a ₹50,000 penalty.
Further, with an aim to curb spurious liquor, the administration has directed manufacturers to introduce pilfer-proof seals on countrymade liquor bottles. Violation of the directive will invite penalty. CCTV cameras must be installed at all retail vends by May 1.
The retail vends of liquor will be allotted through e-tendering system for more transparency, and EMD (earnest money deposit) has been reduced for better participation in bids.
Stakeholders will be able to apply for permits and passes online.
Computerised billing has to be implemented by October 1, 2022, failing which a penalty of ₹5,000 will be imposed.
Only 50% of the basic quota of country liquor will be distributed equally among the bottling plants and remaining will be kept open. Further, additional quota will also be kept open. This will increase options available to the retail vends to obtain supplies as per their choice of bottling plant and brand.
Overall basic quota has been reasonably increased by 13.4% as per consultation with stakeholders.