Sluggish sentiments in the retail liquor trade notwithstanding, the excise department is set to issue a notification for renewal of licenses without considering the pleas of traders to increase trade margin. Sources said the notification was expected to be issued on Thursday or Friday, and the last date for the date for the renewal of the license with one-year term would be June 15.
“The term of the liquor licenses issued last year would end on June 30, and the notification for the renewal would be issued in a day or two. The retail dealers can pay the license fee up to June 15 and renew their licenses,” said an excise official.
However, the news has failed to lift the spirits of the retail traders as their please to increase the trade margin have fallen on deaf ears, and more than 60 % of 5196 licensees are expected to be opting out.
“We had appealed to the government that the trade margin must be increased from the existing 20 % to 30% so that the retail business would be viable. The traders could not make profit this year because of the exorbitant license fee. Now, that our requests are not answered and there is no reason for the majority of the traders to go for renewal of the license for the next year,” said Rayala Subba Rao, president of AP Wine Merchants Association.
Doing away with auctioning, the excise department issued the liquor licenses with a fixed fee through draw of lots last year. However, with the traders finding the license fee dearer, all 6000 shops did not find takers, while the government could allot just 5196 shops. For instance, in Hyderabad, the annual license fee is Rs. 1.05 crore and 100 out of 220 shops fell vacant in the city.
Now, with the notification is expected to come with no bonanza, the number of licensed shops is poised to come down, while belt shops, illegal outlets without licenses, are sure to mushroom further.