Officials of the Gautam Budh Nagar excise department said that the revenue from the sale of liquor has dipped across the district over the past couple of months, attributing the fall to neighbouring Delhi’s heavy discounts on liquor.
“The district stood seventh in the entire state in terms of revenue collection last financial year. Now we are struggling to even meet the set targets. We are among the few districts where the sale of high-end foreign liquor used to be substantial, but that is changing now. We have been able to meet only about 62% of our target for this month, with just around five days left. We usually always surpass our target,” said Rakesh Bahadur Singh, district excise officer, Gautam Budh Nagar.
The district earned ₹143 crore from excise revenue in January, ₹155 crore in February and ₹130 crore in March. The revenue dipped to ₹116 crore in April and further to ₹85 crore in May (till May 25). The district was given a target of ₹137 crore for the month of May by the state–only 62% of which has been achieved so far.
“In May last year, we sold over 1 million liquor bottles. This May, we barely managed to sell 600,000 bottles so far. We lost most of our revenue in the category of foreign liquor. Losses were lesser–about 10-15%–across most brands of beer. This is because beer is usually consumed cold and immediately. So people don’t travel far to buy it. People who prefer country liquor also like to buy it close to home. This only leaves the foreign liquor and the Indian Made Foreign Liquor categories,” said Singh.
Some of the brands that saw a dip in sales include Blenders Pride, McDowells, Black Dog, Royal Stag, Imperial Blue and 100 Pipers, officials said.
Meanwhile, to check the transportation of liquor from Delhi and other states into the district, the excise department has started working on several strategies from this week. This includes strict checking at borders, holding awareness campaigns, coordinating with other departments, and conducting random checks at pubs and bars.
The department has deployed six additional excise inspectors (in teams of two) from other districts such as Ghaziabad to strengthen checking at three major entry points along the 15km border that Gautam Budh Nagar shares with Delhi.
“We have deployed these three teams at Sector 14A, Ashok Nagar and Kondli entry points. Additionally, mobile teams comprising circle inspectors are checking other smaller entry points and secret routes. We have also activated our sources to provide us with information of any unusual movement,” Singh told HT.
The second strategy is increasing public awareness with display boards, distributing pamphlets and making announcements mentioning the relevant laws at the border checkpoints.
In another move, the excise department has increased coordination with other departments in the district too. “The district magistrate has directed that transport and police officials also start checking at borders. Transport and GST teams will also be at the borders for checking,” said Singh.
He added that the fifth step is conducting random checks at pubs and bars, especially at odd hours.