Liquor sale constitutes around 20 per cent of government revenue but consumers are being robbed while the government and shopkeepers claim otherwise.
Liquor in Hyderabad continues to be sold at a price higher than the MRP. Despite the recent ACB drive against liquor mafia in the City, the unofficial price hike continues to be common at various wine shops in the City. For example, Jubilee Hills alone has over five wine shops that sell liquor — hard liquor and other alcoholic beverages — at an average price of Rs.5 to Rs.30 above the MRP.
A wine shop on Rd No 36 charges Rs.30 extra for a 750 ml white rum. Asked why are they charging more than the MRP, the salesman asked the customer to buy if he wants or disappear!
A low-priced IMFL brand bottle rum which is priced at Rs.237, is sold for Rs.5 extra.
A salesman of a shop on the way to Madhapur, was good enough to ladle out a reply, “Charges have gone up since the last three months.” In case of other alcoholic beverages like beer or breezers, there is a Rs.5 increase above MRP.“ Refrigeration charges have been added and then rounded off,” a shopkeeper explained.
Peak time charges extra!
On a given day, during peak hours from 9pm to 10pm, the charges are raised from Rs.3 to Rs.10. To top it all, payments made through credit or debit card will be charged two per cent in excess as part of the “transaction charges”.
So, during peak sale hours, the cheapest brand of whiskey, priced at Rs.75 for a 175 ml bottle which according to the APBCL (Andhra Pradesh Beverage Corporation Limited) is the standard MRP, is sold at Rs.80. The 750ml bottle is sold at `305 as against the standard Rs.295.
For an average number of five cases of hard liquor, some vendors make Rs.1,200 a day.
The only relief is that this trend is not present in wholesale wine shops. Excise officials claim to have knowledge about this but say that proper action can be taken if a complaint is lodged.
An official from the excise and prohibition department said, “We normally act on a complaint. Also, we conduct a drive to check if liquor is being sold above the MRP. We will look into this matter soon.”
So far, the APBCL has made Rs.14,846.36 crore as against Rs.13,429.65 crore in 2011.
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