Licensing fee reduced by half to woo people towards the business: Excise Commissioner
Srinagar, Sep 01: Not living up-to-the assurances made for not opening any liquor new shops in Jammu and Kashmir, the government on Monday went ahead with its new excise policy announced in June this year.
The announcement of the new excise policy had drawn flak from many quarters, particularly the religious bodies, as it was said that new 187 liquor outlets will be opened in Jammu and Kashmir, out of which 67 were proposed in the valley.
Taking a U-turn from its promises and assurances The government on Monday said that the new excise policy 2020-21 shall come into force across Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir from 01 September 2020.
The new policy focuses on transparency and objectivity in the liquor trade along with boosting revenues through rationalization of duties.
The additional excise duty of 50%, levied as per old policy after the onset of COVID 19 has also been removed.
Excise department officials, while confirming the implementation of the new ‘policy told news agency KDC that it is expected to help the industry involved in the manufacturing and sale of liquor in the Union Territory as well as boost revenue generation; however, he said that the tendering will be done through e-tendering to remove the disparity between the different categories of the licensees.
They said, “The policy is also aimed at addressing the unemployment problem through wooing youth into the liquor business, as the registration fee for obtaining the license has been reduced from 7 to 5 lac rupees, for them.”
Officials said, “Under the new policy, future allotment of any sort of licensing shall be exclusively done in a transparent manner.”
“Due care is taken for the underprivileged section of the society providing reservation for them in granting the licenses for the sale of liquor,” they added.
“Care has also been taken of poor and underprivileged categories, as 12% reservation has been kept for six categories from ST/SC and OBCs,’ they said.
“50% concessions will be given to those, who are desirous of opening up bars and liquor shops at tourist destinations,” they further added.
Meanwhile Commissioner Excise J&K Rajesh Kumar Shravan told Kashmir DoT Com- (KDC) that no specific locations to open the liquor outlets have so far been identified in the valley and a survey will be conducted to identify the underserved and unserved locations, where licenses will be issued to desirous aspirants.
“Location will be selected only after the evaluation of the demand”, he added.
Pertinently, there were strong resentment within the people, social and religious groups who vowed to oppose the decision tooth and nail. Sensing the mood, the administration clarified that the decision will only be implemented after taking all the stakeholders into confidence.
“The finance department had also clarified and urged everyone not to believe any rumours or half-baked news,” J&K administration spokesperson and principal secretary, Rohit Kansal had said in a tweet.
“The finance department has not taken any policy decision regarding issuance of fresh liquor licenses in unserved areas. No list of unserved areas has either been considered or approved. No decision will be taken without the participation of stakeholders and due process,’’ he had tweeted.
Mutahida Majlish-e- Ulema, an amalgam of different religious organizations led by Hurriyat chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq had strongly condemned the move and had said that they will never allow this to take place.
“The administration’s order states that they are planning to open 67 liquor shops in Kashmir which are of great concern to people. In the midst of the major global pandemic, the government is bringing ordinances and rules to change the demography of the Muslim majority of the state and fresh orders are aimed at assaulting our Muslim majority and religious sentiments.’’ Majlis had said. (KDC)