With the financial year coming to and end in four days, the excise department is experiencing a huge rush for renewal of annual liquor distillery licences.
Many distillers allege that excise officials are purposely delaying the process though they have applied well in advance for renewal of their licences. The delay has left many owners worried that they will not be able to finish the paper work on time. “Many of the liquor distillery owners applied for renewal as long as 25 days ago. But excise officials are harassing them by asking them unnecessary and unrelated queries,” said a owner.
There are others like him who are worried that if things continue in this way, they won’t be able to renew their licences. “Besides, there will be a huge loss to the state government if that happens, and also there won’t be any liquor dispatches anywhere in the city,” said another.
Additional commissioner of excise Venkataswamy, when contacted, said that there was a delay of four days due to the auditing of liquor dispatches. “Since this is the first time we are conducting this reconciliation process, there is a slight delay in the renewal of the licences of the distilleries. We had to check the entire stock at all the places,” he explained.
Rejecting the charge of dilly-dallying or harassment, he said, “Some distillery owners had arrears and so we asked them to clear the dues for licence renewal. Without clearance of dues, their licenses can’t be renewed. All the work is being done on time and we are confident that everything will be done before March 30,” he said.