Kolkata: There is bad news for beer lovers in West Bengal. The West Bengal excise department has decided to ration the supply of the beer to retail liquor outlets in the state till further orders, at a time when demand for mild alcoholic beverages is on the rise because of the scorching summer heat. The excise department has issued clear instructions on this count to the West Bengal State Beverage Corporation (WBSBC), the sole wholesale supplier of alcoholic beverages in the state. The department has also provided a formula for rationing.
Explaining the rationing formula, news agency IANS quoted a senior official of the WBSBC, who said that as per the excise department directive, one retail liquor outlet in a month will receive only that amount of beer bottles or cans that they raiseed from the corporation in the same month of the previous year, i.e., 2021.
The directive is effective from April 2022 and will continue till further orders, which means till the production and supply of beer gets stabilised.
Excise Commissioner S Umashankar admitted that because of the pandemic situation, the pace of beer production had slowed, leading to the supply crisis. However, he expressed hope that the situation will come under control soon, and supplies will be stabilised and rationing will be withdrawn.
This is not the first time that the excise department has decided to ration supply of beer in the state.
OP Gupta, who owns multiple retail liquor outlets, told IANS that the new rule will be a matter of worry if the rationing continues for a long time, since the demand for beer will rise further in the next three months when the summer heat will be at its peak.