Pune: State government has got a revenue of Rs 767.92 crore during the 83 days period after the ban on liquor sale was lifted in May while the unlocking phase began in the state. This revenue accounts for alcohol consumption from Pune, Nagar and Solapur districts. However, despite a strong comeback, the state government is facing a shortfall of about Rs 300 crore in revenue as compared to last year.
Lockdown was imposed from March 25 due to the Covid-19 outbreak in the state. From May 8, the state government allowed the sale of liquor. The second phase then allowed the sale of liquor in parcel form from the bar. Shop hours were also extended by an hour.
Prasad Surve, Divisional Deputy Commissioner, Excise Department said, “The sale of liquor was closed for 43 consecutive days during the lockdown. Now the shops are open till 7 pm in the evening. The revenue through excise duty on liquor was down by Rs 300 crore as compared to last year.”
The state government has allowed the sale of liquor through doorstep delivery. To avail this home delivery facility, customers have to register on the website of the State Excise Department. Customers can then see a list of wine shop shops in the vicinity of their residence. The state government expected that the customers would order more liquor due to the home delivery facility.
Initially, the scheme received good response. But, after a while, as the timings of the shops increased, customers preferred to go to the shops and buy liquor. Also, shopkeepers had to hire additional workforce to deliver the liquor at doorstep. Considering the burden of their salaries, transportation costs, etc the shopkeepers could not afford it. As a result, the scheme was discontinued in many places over time.
When liquor shops were allowed to open by the state government, citizens had lined up in many places in the state to buy liquor. However, officials in the excise department now observe that the consumption of alcohol is relatively low. He attributed the slowdown in the market to the adverse impact on employment.
CONSUMPTION OF LIQUOR IN PUNE
- April to July 2019 - 1067 crores
- April to July 2020 - 767 crore 92 lakhs
- 1 to 27 August 2019 - 244 crore 77 lakhs
- 1 to 27 August 2020 - 206 crore 21 lakhs
- Bar: 3,198
- Wine shop: 573
- Country liquor shops: 354
- Beer shop: 375