With six of the seven liquor units remaining unsold in Solan Excise district in the auctions held today, officials of the Excise and Taxation Department face a Harculean task to sell the remaining units in the coming days.
The department had to do away with 40 liquor vends which were located within a 500 m distance from the national and state highways as per the apex court directions. The quota allotted to these 40 vends was merged with the remaining vends, thus increasing their value. There were 122 remaining vends in the six units in the Solan excise district which were put up for auction today.
A reserve price of Rs 78 crore has been fixed for the seven units as against the last year’s reserve price of Rs 68 crore. The lone Arki unit was sold for Rs 15 crore to the MRP Associates as the tender put up by it had a higher amount in comparison to a lone bid made by one contractor. No other tenders or bids were made for the remaining six units despite the presence of large number of old contractors at the auction today.
The contractors rued that instead of scaling down the reserve price after the lucrative vends close to the state and national highways had been done away with, the department had hiked the license fee by 15 per cent and this would adversely hit the profitability.
The move to merge the quota of the closed vends also drew flak from the contractors as they felt all vends would not be able to sell the earmarked stock as they were located far from the state and national highways. The move to relocate the closed vends to new locations also met with limited success and no suitable place could be found close to the national highway-22 which housed a large of vends earlier confided officials.
Additional Excise and Taxation Commissioner, DC Negi, under whose chairmanship the auctions were organized, today said another round of auctions would be conducted soon to sell the remaining units and added that they hoped to sell the remaining units soon. More than 700 vends have been closed across the state which were lying in the 500 m purview of the state and national highways following apex court directions.
Story: The Tribune