Thursday, November 18, 2021

Domestic terminal to get liquor off-shop

Kolkata: The Dum Dum airport, one of the oldest in Asia, will soon have its first liquor off-shop in the domestic terminal, like its counterpart in Delhi has for the past few years.

A source said talks were on with the Airports Authority of India and state excise department for an off-shop in the domestic terminal. “The off-shop will be managed by the state beverage corporation, Bevco. It (Bevco) has permission for retail trade as well but since its inception, the corporation has never tried its hand in retail. This will be the first retail venture for Bevco,” said the source. According to the official, one of the reasons behind setting up the off-shop could be that the prices of most bottled in origin (BIO) single malt, blended Scotch, vodka and gin and overseas spirits bottled in India (OSBI) in Bengal have become very competitive. “Prices of some single malt and blended Scotch whisky in the domestic terminal shop—same as that in Bengal—would be even cheaper than those available at the Delhi duty free shop in the international terminal. Lots of people used to buy expensive liquors (BIO) from outside as five litres per person is allowed in airlines but now, that will stop,” added sources.

The excise department did not comment but later, excise commissioner Umasankar S said the recent slash in prices would help check smuggling and would not affect the revenue of the government. According to him, the excise department seized 1.6 lakh litres of non-duty paid IMFL in the fiscal from April to October 31 in Bengal. “The price slash would help restrict the entry of spurious and duplicate liquor from neighboring states and check smuggling of non-duty paid IMFL. The rationalization of the duty structure here would also help avoid public health hazards,” he added. According to Umasankar S, the new prices were lower than that in Jharkhand and Odisha. The excise commissioner also admitted there has been a fall in consumption in the last one year. There has been a hike in duty on IMFL twice in 2020. The revenue from excise in the first half of this fiscal (2021-22) was Rs 5,471 crore while it was Rs 4,328 crore in the same period last fiscal (2020-21). The total revenue from excise for the state was Rs 12,300 crore in 2020-21.

18/11/21 Times of India

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