In a first, liquor retail outlet to be set up at Kol airport
Kolkata: Come New year, a liquor retail outlet would be set up for the first time at the domestic lounge of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport.
The state's sole distributor of liquor — West Bengal State Beverages Corporation (Bevco) —would be setting up the shop and already a round of talks in this regard has taken place. It is expected that the shop will open by December end or at the beginning of the new year. This is again the first time Bevco is going to set up a retail outlet.
There is already a liquor shop at the international lounge of the Kolkata Airport. But this is the first time since the inception of the airport when a liquor off shop is coming up at its domestic lounge.
In subsequent phases, it would come up in Bagdogra and Durgapur as well.
This comes when the price of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) has gone down by 20 to 25 per cent. The price of high-end imported liquor or bottled-in-origin (BIOs) ones has gone down by 30 to 35 per cent from Tuesday with the state government reducing the excise duty by 20 to 25 per cent. It has brought the liquor price in Bengal almost at par with Delhi, Odisha and Jharkhand.
The price of premium range liquors, in many cases, is even lesser than that of in Delhi. According to the state government sources, the price of a 750 ml bottle of Black Label has reduced to Rs 2860. It earlier used to cost Rs 5,400 in Bengal. Its price in Delhi stands at around Rs 2920. The price of the same in Bengal has reduced to Rs 2860 for a 750 ml bottle when even duty-free cost of its 1 litre bottle is around Rs 3,400.
Similarly, the reduced price of a 750 ml bottle of Glenlivet 21 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky is around Rs 14,000 in Bengal, which is again lesser than that of in Delhi.
Uma Sankar S, Excise Commissioner, said: "Keeping the public health issues in mind, the measure of rationalising the liquor price with that of most neighbouring states has been taken to check smuggling. It would help check illicit liquor and smuggling of "non-duty liquor" from neighbouring states".
This comes when around 6 lakh illicit liquor was seized last year while around 1.4 lakh litre non-duty IMFL was seized in between April 1 to October 31.
The state government has also introduced a system that enables one to check retail price of liquor by visiting www.excise.wb.gov.in and can also check details of a bottle of liquor by scanning the hologram printed on each bottle.
Besides lowering the excise duty, the commission for retailers has been increased from 5.25 per cent to 7.25 per cent.
According to experts, the reduction in liquor price would not adversely affect the excise revenue that has increased to Rs 5471 crore in the first six months of the current fiscal compared to that of Rs 4328 crore in the corresponding period of 2020-21 financial year.