Noida: An apparent discount rush to liquor stores in Delhi and complaints of revenue loss this side of the border have prompted the excise department and police in UP to step up vigil near the entry points of Noida and Ghaziabad to enforce the one-bottle rule. And it’s only legal if the bottle is unsealed, the excise department insists.
Posters advising against carrying liquor from other states into UP have been put up near the borders and policemen have been making announcements through portable PA systems to deter discount hunters.
Some Delhi stores had also been giving ‘buy one, get one free’ offers, which did not go down well with liquor traders in NCR. They have been complaining to the excise department about loss of business. “People are informed that illegally importing liquor from other states is a punishable offence in UP. The violator will be booked under the UP Excise Act and sent to jail,” read a notice put up in Noida.
Data shared by the UP excise department shows significant price difference in the selling price of branded liquor in Delhi and UP. For instance, 100 Pipers Exceptional Blended Malt Scotch Whiskey (750 ml) is priced at Rs 2,200 in UP but Rs 1,970 in Delhi. Similarly, 8PM Premium Black Superior Whisky (750 ml) costs Rs 670 in UP, while in Delhi, one can buy it for Rs 510.
Mahendra Singh, excise commissioner Meerut Zone, said that this is significantly affecting UP’s excise revenue. “Noida and Ghaziabad share boundaries with Delhi and people travel freely between the cities and Delhi. The Delhi government has reduced excise duty and people have also been getting one bottle free on purchase of one bottle there,” Singh told TOI on Wednesday.
The excise department has decided to launch a drive to enforce the one bottle rule. The excise commissioner said only one litre of liquor can be brought from Delhi or any other state into UP. “This 1 litre liquor is allowed only for personal consumption in UP. But the bottle must be unsealed. If the bottle is sealed, the excise department will take action,” he said.
For the border checks, the excise department has shifted its manpower from Meerut zone to Noida and Ghaziabad. “Our officials are making public announcements and also placing posters and banners at the UP-Delhi border areas. The mobile teams are conducting inspections,” Singh said.
The commissioner on Wednesday held a meeting with Delhi excise officials and expressed concern about the discounts. “The Delhi officials said they will ensure shops do not sell liquor beyond the permissible limit,” he said.
RB Singh, excise officer for Gautam Budh Nagar, said enforcement drives were being conducted at Sector 14A Chilla border, Kondli, Ashok Nagar, Jhundpura, etc.
“On May 13, we also caught a truck which was carrying 600 cartons of illegal liquor in Greater Noida,” he said. R K Singh, excise officer, Ghaziabad, said a similar enforcement drive is on in Ghaziabad.
Varun Khera, head of the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI)’s Noida chapter, said, “There is always a mismatch between liquor prices in Delhi, Noida and Gurgaon. We feel the state governments should make a single excise policy for all NCR cities to make liquor prices uniform.”
In 2021-22, the Gautam Budh Nagar excise department collected Rs 1,346 crore in revenue. Ghaziabad collected Rs 1,474 crore in revenue.
The above news was originally posted on timesofindia.indiatimes.com