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Jharkhand Excise: Tipplers Left High And Dry As Shops Run Out Of Stocks

Even after a fortnight since the launch of the new excise policy in
Jharkhand, the state excise department has, so far, failed to
streamline liquor sales due to a slew of factors that range from
scarcity of stock, erratic shop timings and unavailability of digital
payment modes, thereby.
Ranchi: Even after a fortnight since the launch of the new excise policy in Jharkhand, the state excise department has, so far, failed to streamline liquor sales due to a slew of factors that range from scarcity of stock, erratic shop timings and unavailability of digital payment modes, thereby, leaving the tipplers high and dry.
For instance, on Friday, a 34-year-old Ranchi-based banker was looking to unwind with his colleagues at his home over bottles of beer after a long day of work, however, he had to change his plans at the last moment when he did not find stocks in the retail outlets.
Similarly, a middle-aged man here went to several shops searching for his favourite brand of whiskey and ultimately, settle for a different brand.
In another instance, a customer rued how he had to run around looking for an ATM just to buy a bottle of beer as a particular shop wasn’t accepting payment by credit/debit card. By the time he withdrew cash and came to buy the liquor, the shop had run out of stock.
According to a staff member at a retail outlet in Morhabadi, they were forced to down shutters two days ago owing to the unavailability of stocks.
“We aren’t getting regular stocks of whiskey and beer from the depot and as a result, we had to shut the shop. We will reopen once we get fresh stocks,” the staff member added. In another shop located close to it, there were only a limited number of beer of a particular brand, but none was chilled. When asked, a worker said, “Our freezer is not functioning and moreover, there is a mismatch in the demand and supply of beer and thus, hardly any retail shop is getting the time to put the beer in freezer.”
The new excise policy was introduced in Jharkhand on May 1, as part of which the entire liquor operation, including wholesale, stocking, supply and retail management, has been taken over by the government. In the earlier system, it was handled by private retailers. The new policy – opposed by retailers and the opposition prior to its launch – is aimed at regulating the trade and adding to the state’s revenue, government officials have said.
Under the new policy, a total of 1,564 liquor retail shops, including 160 in Ranchi, have initially been permitted to function across the state.
However, at present, even the number of retail shops in the city is lesser than the estimated target. According to officials at Jharkhand State Beverage Corporation Limited (JSBCL), about 145 shops have become operational in Ranchi, so far, while 1,460 exist elsewhere in the state.
Talking to TOI, JSBCL’s managing director Ameet Kumar said the number of shops will increase gradually as they are providing permits to the interested retailers. Asked about the erratic operation of the shops, Kumar said, “Every new set up takes some time to streamline and as far as stocks are concerned, there is a shortage of supply of certain brands of liquor, which will be solved soon,” he added.

The above news was originally posted on timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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