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Punjab

Beer supply dries up in peak summer Delay In Nod To Lables Blamed

June 05, 2019 06:40 AM

COURTESY TOI JUNE 5

Beer supply dries up in peak summer Delay In Nod To Lables Blamed
Vinod.Kumar3@timesgroup.com

Chandigarh:

If you are planning to beat the scorching heat with your favourite beer, chances are you might have to return empty handed from liquor shops in Punjab.


Most popular brands of beer — Indian and imported — are either in short supply or are not available in many parts of the state. As beer is a preferred drink in summer, its sale rises by up to 30%. But, retail liquor shops in Punjab do not have adequate stock and are scrambling for whatever is available. There are 5,750 liquor vends in the state.

Bhatinda-based liquor trader, Harish Kumar, who has shops in five districts of the state said most of the popular brands such as Carlsberg, Heineken and Kingfisher are not available. He added that the non-availability is hurting their business and the traders are surviving on whatever stock is available. “On an average, there is per day demand of around 15,000 bottles of beer in Bhatinda city during summer season. Demand is higher in districts like Ludhiana. Due to shortage, vends have little to sell,” said Harish Kumar.

Gaurav Jain, who has liquor vends in Mohali, Zirakpur and Kharar, said the traders were losing out on revenue. “During the peak summer season, beer is in demand and traders don’t have much to sell as most of the popular brands are either not available or are in short of supply,” he said.

The shortage has been attributed to delay in approval of labels due to the Lok Sabha elections. As per laid down norms, liquor cannot be sold until label of each brand is approved.

In the new excise policy, the government increased the quota month-wise as per the fixed ratio. Earlier, the quota was lifted quarterly. The annual quota for beer was increased from 2.57 crore bulk litres in 2018-19 to 3 crore bulk litres for next current financial year, recording rise of about 16%. In case of non-lifting of minimum guaranteed quota by the end of each month, the traders is liable to deposit an amount equal to all the levies on the uplifted minimum guaranteed quota by the end of the months. “How are we going to meet the prescribed quota when all the brands are not available?” questioned Harish Kumar.

Despite repeated attempts, Punjab excise and taxation commissioner Vivek Partap Singh and additional excise and taxation commissioner Gurtej Singh were not available for comments.

 
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