Moolah Flows to State Coffers as Liquor Sales Soar on Day 2
NEW DELHI: Liquor stores across the country did business on the second day of Tuesday after the government allowed the sale during the shutdown as cities witnessed long lines, and less chaos, throughout the day.
But, it was bad news for Mumbai, as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) decided on Tuesday to withdraw the relaxation in the city of Mumbai, fearing that this could lead to the deterioration of the coronavirus situation.
This followed large crowds gathered near liquor stores without following the rules of social distancing, even on Tuesday the 2nd, as people feared that the stores would close soon.
On Tuesday, liquor stores in safe areas saw sales boom in Maharashtra. Foreign-made Indian liquor (IMFL), country liquor, wine and beer were sold on Tuesday for Rs 62 crore, a new record, a senior bureaucrat told TOI.
In Mumbai, liquor sellers claimed that they sold six to seven times more than the average sale per day. Several Thane and Navi Mumbai residents came to Mulund and Chembur to buy their shares as these neighboring cities have not allowed stores to open.
Other states were also pleased when sales increased. Liquor sales on Day 2 set a record for a single day in Karnataka. According to special tax officials, liquor worth Rs 197 million rupees was sold statewide on Tuesday, compared to Rs 45 million rupees the previous day. The all-time previous record was Rs 170 crore on December 28, 2019.
The Karnataka government now plans to impose 5% -15% Covid excise duty on alcoholic beverages in all categories on the Delhi and Andhra Pradesh lines.
With these measures, the Karnataka government seeks to offset the rupee loss of 2,600 rupees from the special tax revenue it suffered during the blockade.
Enthusiasm was high across the country.
In West Bengal, an astonishing liquor sale of Rs 40 million was recorded on the first day of the independent stores reopening on Monday, according to estimates provided by a trade association.
In Uttar Pradesh, around Rs 100 crore have been reported, again representing a jump of 40 to 50 percent.
In Delhi, undeterred by the threat of coronavirus infection or the special 70 percent crown rate on alcohol sales, hundreds of drinking fountains queued up outside liquor stores for the second consecutive day on Tuesday.
In Nainital, torrential rain and an unexpected hail shower could not calm the spirits of liquor buyers on Tuesday. Hundreds of them lined up with umbrellas, braving the downpour. Liquor stores in Nainital finally opened on Tuesday after a 40-day gap.
Liquor stores in Haryana reopened on Wednesday after the state government allowed the same along with the imposition of a 'COVID Cess' on alcohol. A day earlier, Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala had reported that 'COVID Cess' will be Rs 5 per quarter in case of country liquor, Rs 20 per quarter in case of foreign Indian-made liquor, Rs 5 in case of strong beer and Rs 2 in case of another beer.
It will be Rs 50 per package greater than 375 ML in case of imported foreign liquor, with effect from May 6.
More about Covid-19
> The Andhra Pradesh government on Tuesday announced another 50 percent spike in liquor prices, just a day after imposing a 25 percent surge, as stores reopened in light of the relaxation given amid Covid-19 shutdown.
The government said the decision has been made as a step toward discouraging alcohol consumption. With a 50 percent increase in liquor prices, overall rates have soared 75 percent.
Meanwhile, faced with a 20-30 percent surge in demand after liquor sales were allowed starting Monday, the alcoholic beverage industry is asking state governments to allow them to operate more shifts at the distilleries. .
(With contributions from agencies)