sulagna Sengupta
[email protected]
Kolkata, 24 October
The state government has decided to keep liquor shops  open till 2 a.m. on Kali Puja day. The decision has been taken as consumption of liquor ~ both foreign and country spirits ~ increases substantially during the festive season. There is a spurt in illegal sale of liquor during the festive season.
At present all liquor shops  stay open on Kali puja from 10 a.m. till 4 p.m. but this has been extended till 2 a.m. now.
An order issued on 27 September 2013 states that liquor shops in the state will stay open till 2 a.m. and Joint Commissioners of Excise Department and superintendents of Excise in
the districts will be in
charge of monitoring these shops.
They have been directed to remain stationed in  the respective headquarters and leave only after prior approval from the Collector and Excise Commissioner of West Bengal.
Officers are to undertake extensive raids to curb the sale and manufacture of illicit liquor. Detailed reports are to be  submitted to the state Excise Department till Kali Puja.
In West Bengal, there are 30,000 off shops and  officers have their task cut out to monitor them.
According to statistics available with the the state Excise Department, consumption of foreign liquor showed negative growth in 2012-13 and Excise revenues dipped from a 23.09  per cent growth in 2011-12 to just 18.8 per cent in 2012-13.
On the other hand, consumption of country liquor, which had a negative growth rate during the Left regime in 2010-11, soared to 16.1 per cent in 2012-13.