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After Delhi, excise policy of Punjab’s AAP govt under judicial scanner

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 Aiming to boost revenue by reducing the price of alcohol and making the booze lovers kings, the new excise policy of the AAP government in Punjab which became operational from July 1, has come under the judicial scanner with those in the trade accusing the government of monopolising the liquor industry in favour of a “handful of entities”.

However, the government claims the policy is aimed at keeping a stringent check on the smuggling of liquor from neighbouring states and is expecting revenue generation of Rs 9,647.85 crore, a spike of about Rs 2,600 crore from the previous fiscal year.

The new policy, approved by the cabinet last month, is applicable for nine months till March 31, 2023.

The petition filed by Akash Enterprises and other wholesale and retail vendors challenged the policy in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on the plea that it is an attempt to monopolise the liquor trade. It is pending before the court.

The petitioners pleaded that the government had issued a corrigendum whereby the maximum number of retail groups that can be allotted to an entity has been increased to five from three, which furthers the intent of monopolising the liquor industry into the hands of a few ‘resourceful’ bidders.

Contrary to the allegations, a spokesperson for the Chief Minister’s Office told IANS that the new excise policy aims to break the mafia nexus in the liquor trade.

Joining issue, rebel AAP leader and now Congress legislator Sukhpal Singh Khaira said since Arvind Kejriwal has replicated the Delhi excise policy in Punjab by putting the liquor trade into the hands of the mafia and has robbed small contractors of their livelihood, there should be a similar CBI probe ordered against this policy in Punjab to bring out the truth.

“It is an irony that while Kejriwal is crying wolf in Delhi and issuing clean chits to his ministers accused of corruption with irrefutable evidence, his government in Punjab is orchestrating a malicious and vengeful vendetta campaign in the state against political opponents on baseless allegations of corruption,” he said.

For consumers it has brought cheers with the reduction in the price.

The duties levied on liquor in the wholesale trade have been slashed by 25-60 per cent.

Also in the new policy no quota has been fixed for the sale of Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL) and beer, which means vend owners can sell as much liquor as they can.

Trade insiders told IANS the policy has reduced the number of groups or clusters of liquor vends from about 750 in the last financial year to 177, with the aim to increase control over the liquor trade and tap optimum revenue.

Als, the government gave its nod to allot two special battalions of police to the excise department, in addition to the existing force, for keeping an effective vigil over the excise duty pilferage.

To encourage investment, a provision for a new distillery and brewery licence has been made in the policy for the production of malt spirit which has been done to encourage crop diversification and provide better remuneration to the farmers.

A government official familiar with the matter told IANS earlier that it was the liberal liquor policy of Chandigarh that was hitting neighbouring states the most, including Punjab.

The chief ministers of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh on several occasions had requested the Chandigarh administration to fix a quota for licensees and increase levies as these have been causing an annual revenue loss of Rs 200-Rs 300 crore to them owing to liquor smuggling.

They had argued that allocation of unlimited quota to a licencee in Chandigarh was promoting smuggling of liquor to nearby states.

“Now it is the liberal liquor policy of Punjab that is going to hit neighbouring states the most,” added the official.

In Punjab, alcohol is the maximally abused substance by more than two million people, followed by tobacco which is consumed by more than 1.5 million people, finds the latest study by the Chandigarh-based Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER).

The abuse of opioids is by 1.7 lakh individuals, followed by cannabinoids as well as sedative-inhalant stimulants. The latter are largely a class of pharmacological or prescription drugs being used illicitly.

As per the State of Punjab Household Survey and statewide NCD STEPs Survey by the PGIMER, the projected number of overall substance use in Punjab is 15.4 per cent.

Coming out in support of the new liquor policy, Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema said the government has targeted to generate Rs 9,600 crore as against Rs 6,200 crore in the last fiscal.

He said earlier liquor purchased from Haryana used to be sold in Punjab. “The days of the liquor mafia are over now,” he added.

Responding to Delhi’s lieutenant governor V.K. Saxena asking the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to inquire into the Delhi government’s excise policy, BJP national general secretary Tarun Chugh said the AAP government’s links with the liquor cartel would soon be exposed in Punjab too.

In Punjab also Kejriwal has tried to replicate the Delhi model which would soon be exposed, he added.

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Zomato Shares Hit 52 Week High Today,Back Near IPO Price After Two Years

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The shares of Zomato Ltd record a one year high with stock gained nearly 53 per cent in the last 52 week. The stock of Zomato is witnessing a surge of Rs 77.35 a share, a level last seen on April 26, 2022.

In the end of March 2023, Zomato share dropped down at Rs 50 apiece. The stock was trading at Rs 77 on BSE at 1pm, up by 1.64 per cent from the previous close.

Since March, the stock gain a rise of nearly 53 per cent. It is still down 52 percent from its record closing high of Rs 160.30 hit on November 15, 2021.

After entering the new financial year, the shares of Zomato has increased around Rs 50 to Rs 77 apiece levels. The company shares had started signaling about the end of base building mode in January 2023 when it rebounded from Rs 47 apiece levels and sustained above this fresh bottom made after bouncing back from 52-week lows of Rs 40.60 apiece made in July 2022.

Zomato Ltd Shares

The shares of Zomato on Friday at 3:30pm IST were at Rs 77.90, up by 2.77 per cent.

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Pune News: Big news! Pune IAS officer caught in CBI raid, accepting bribe

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Cbi Raid on Ias Officer Dr Anil Ganpatrao Ramod: A big news has come to the fore from Punya. CBI has conducted raids on IAS officers. Dr. Anil Ganpatrao Ramod is an IAS officer and is the Additional Divisional Commissioner of Pune. He has been caught red handed by the CBI accepting the offer.

According to the information received, Anil Ramod, who is facing the highway, would have demanded Lachechi to get the return soon. The complainant would have filed a complaint with the CBI in respect of or. Intervening in the complaint received, the CBI raided and caught Anil Ramode red-handed accepting a bribe of Rs.8 lakh.

Stuck in taking promotion and bribe for two days

Meanwhile, Alikadech Satariat got promoted to the post of Faujdar and got stuck for two days, but while taking the bribe, the police station staff got stuck. Or a greedy police officer, taking a bribe of Rs 24,000 to help the accused in the crime of treachery of marriage, caught by the Prohibition Department on a family promise.

Ya Faujdarache Nao Machindra Baburao Sasane Asan Aahe. If the police station accepted the bouquet, the same police station or criminal offense was registered.

And in the second incident, the police station police station’s police officer filed a complaint regarding the property, for not registering the crime, and for not registering the accused, the complainant was fined 20 thousand rupees and then 12 thousand rupees. Either in the case itself or in the form of Bribe, the Prohibitory Department has caught red handed. Nitin Dashrath More, ase ya faujdarache nao aahe.

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Bengal govt challenges Calcutta HC’s twin orders in minor rape-murder case

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The West Bengal government on Friday challenged the twin orders of a single-judge bench of the Calcutta High Court in connection to the rape and murder of a minor girl in Kaliganj, North Dinajpur district.

The two orders by the High Court’s single-judge bench of Justice Rajasekhar Mantha have been challenged at the division bench headed by Chief Justice T.S. Sivagnanam and comprising Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharya.

The first order pertains to the formation of a special investigation team to probe the case, while the second is related to Justice Mantha seeking a report from the state’s Home Department on the police allegedly refusing to cooperate with the SIT.

Despite a petition was filed at the High Court demanding a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe in the matter, Justice Mantha constituted the SIT comprising the-then Special Commissioner of Kolkata Police, Damayanti Sen, retired IG Pankaj Dutta, and retired Joint Director of CBI, Upen Biswas.

Justice Mantha and specifically directed the state police to fully cooperate with the SIT.

Sen has however, been transferred from her current posting to a lesser significant post of additional director general (training) of state police.

Justice Mantha’s bench recently received complaints against the state police for not cooperating with the SIT.

Taking strong exceptions, Justice Mantha on Thursday sought a report from the Home Department within seven days.

The rape and murder case took place in April.

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