In a move to increase revenue through excise, the Uttarakhand government introduced a new excise policy earlier this year. But, the policy flopped badly and within three months, the Trivendra Rawat government had to amend it as nobody was showing interest in operating 234 liquor shops, of a total of about 653, in the hill state due to the high license fee and surcharge.

Now, the unsold foreign liquor shops will be offered at 35 per cent below the fixed base price. Taking this decision at a cabinet meeting in Dehradun on Wednesday, the Uttarakhand government announced the amendment in the state excise policy (2019-20).

The new excise policy, introduced this year, provided the existing shop owner, who had met the target revenue, the luxury of retaining the shop by paying 20 per cent extra of the base price. This move helped selected individuals to retain their shops and few other bidders to control shop in their preferred area. But, a major chunk of shops remained unsold.

Uttarakhand government’s spokesperson Madan Kausik disclosed the changes in excise policy and other decisions of the cabinet meeting in Dehradun on Wednesday. The Trivendra Rawat government has set Rs 3180 Crore as revenue target from the sale of liquor.

The 234 shops will be offered for 35 per cent low price and will be allotted by lottery. When the new policy was introduced, many alleged that it was done to benefit some people close to the corridor of power.

Due to the low number of shops operating in the hill state, big crowd prevails in the existing liquor shops. The decision of the excise department to offer even the marginal or small profit-making shops for high price was a complete failure. How many unsold shops will find buyers remains to be seen!