KOLKATA: Buoyed by the buzz that the ministry of home affairs will allow bars in the fourth round of unlocking, establishment owners in the city are now confident that an excise circular will be issued soon. TOI had written last week that there was a series of discussion with excise officials and owners of bar and management of city premier clubs about the possible reopening from September 1.
According to sources, some bars have already started preparations to start business after a gap of more than five months. “We have started accumulating stocks following verbal instruction from the excise department,” a bar owner said. Sources in the excise department said that a formal notification may come by end of this month.
The excise commissioner had a four-hour-long meeting with representatives of alcoholic beverages manufacturers and the representative association on the new price regime. The International Spirits and Wines Association of India (ISWAI) and the Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies (CIABC), who between them account for most of the branded liquor industry in India, had submitted a joint representation to the state government about the concern of liquor companies following the proposal of a new tax regime. CIABC and ISWAI had pointed out that under this proposed policy, consumer prices of the fast-moving brands will go up substantially (translating to Rs 150 to Rs 450 per bottle rise). The state government had proposed to withdraw the 30% additional sales tax and roll out a slab based ad-valorem tax structure.
CIABC director general Vinod Giri told TOI that the excise commissioner had asked for suggestions from alcobev manufacturers and its representative associations. “We have sought two weeks for submitting the suggestions. The new regime at the current form would disrupt the trade and we have conveyed this to excise commissioner. He has assured to convey this to higher authorities,” he added.
Meanwhile, the manufacturers has requested the state government not to roll out the new price regime in next 14 days. It was supposed to be rolled out from September 1 along with the reopening of the bars.