The Haryana government on Wednesday auctioned 148 of the 168 liquor vends in Gurugram west through e-tenders and earned 424 crore in the process, an increase of 14.5% on the reserve price, said officials of the excise department.

The reserve price is the lowest price at which the department is willing to auction the liquor shop. That’s the minimum price the bid starts from. According to Anirudh Sharma, deputy commissioner of excise and taxation, Gurugram west, the reserve price was 37.02 crore.

The bids were finalised in the presence of four deputy excise and taxation commissioners and officials of the sales tax and excise departments at the excise office in Sector 34.

Sharma said that of the of the 42 zones in Gurugram west, 37 were auctioned on Thursday and the rest, for which e-tendering process will be started again by the end of this month, will be auctioned soon.

“We have received a good response, and despite the Covid-19 restrictions, there was a good competition between the bidders. There were between three and five bidders in each zone and we saw a growth in revenue,” he said.

The highest bid amounted to 44.19 crore for a vend near Ambience Mall, while the second-highest bid amounted to 29 crore for a vend at DLF Phase 2 and the third-highest amounted to 20.40 crore for a vend in Udyog Vihar near Shankar Chowk.

Excise areas are divided into east and west Gurugram, containing 40 and 42 zones respectively.

Sharma said that the number of zones was reduced this time–from 73 to 42–because the number of vends allowed in each zone was increased from two to four.

VK Beniwal, deputy commissioner of excise and taxation, Gurugram east, said that the last auction was held in 2020 and due to Covid-19 all the liquor vends were asked to renew their licenses and those who had been surrendered were re-auctioned. “The department had auctioned 282 liquor vends and earned 743 crore, which was an increase of 6.27% on the reserve price,” he said.

Officials said that the difference between the reserve price and the bidding amount is higher this year. To be sure, the revenue mostly increases when there are new players, and this year, there are many new players due to the new excise policy, which has increased the number of liquor shops and reduced excise duty and VAT, attracting more people to the business.

According to officials, for the first time, new players from other districts have entered and won the auction. There is no cartelisation by the bidders, however, they added.

Officials said the e-tendering process started on May 17 and was open to bidders till 4pm on Tuesday, adding that the auction for Gurugram east will be held on May 24.

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