Not yet accepted Standing Committee’s suggestion: Excise Minister

Bhubaneswar: Odisha government Monday said it has so far not accepted the recommendation of the standing committee of the Excise Department which had suggested opening of more IMFL shops and rewarding successful licensed traders.

This was stated by Excise minister Niranjan Pujari while replying to a question of BJP member Mohan Majhi in the Assembly.

“The government has so far not accepted the recommendation of the standing committee report for opening more IMFL shops and rewarding licensed traders,” he said.

The panel, which is headed by BJD MLA Subrat Tarai, sought more IMFL off shops to generate more revenue and to check illegal trafficking of spurious liquor.

The committee said the traders who meet the minimum guaranteed quantity (MGQ) fixed for the shop and cross it substantially, should be rewarded appropriately

Expressing concern over the its report, the members cutting across party lines said rewarding licensed liquor traders will encourage alcohol consumption in the state.

BJD member S R Patnaik said since the party has been able to return to power five times in a row on the strength of women voters and excise policy should be made keeping in view of the sentiments of the women.

Patnaik said state government should consider cost analysis of liquor circulation in the state. “Though the state is earning a good amount of revenue from excise, it should also consider the losses due to accidents, family disputes, crimes and other by consumption of liquor,” he said.

Majhi criticised the state government’s excise policy and said the state should take measures to control the alcohol consumption in Odisha.

The minister, however, said the government’s priority is to check circulation of adulterated liquor.

“The government ensures availability of quality, safe liquor to habitual alcohol consumers at proper price in licensed shops,” the minister said.

The minister also informed the House regarding steps taken to curb liquor menace, while replying another question of BJD’s P K Deb.

He said no new ‘OFF’ liquor shops is being sanctioned in the state.

Pujari said the Excise department’s revenue collection has increased from Rs 849 crore in 2009-10 to Rs 3,925 crore in 2018-19.

This time in 2019-20, the revenue collection target has been fixed at Rs 4,600 crore keeping in view the rising trend of consumption of different beverages such as India-made foreign liquor (IMFL), beer and country spirit in the state.