HYDERABAD: Around 11 distilleries in Telangana have indefinitely stopped production of liquor (Whisky, Rum, Gin and other types of alcohol) from Wednesday requesting the government to reduce the Distilleries Licence Fee as they are not meeting their full production capacity. However, official sources said that the protest will not affect the availability of alcohol and that protesting members contribute less than 10 per cent of alcohol supply. Officials said that according to Telangana Excise Act, distilleries cannot stop production even for an hour without permission from commissioner of Telangana Prohibition and Excise department and stringent action would be taken against those breaking the rule.
In Telangana, there are 17 distilleries. Approximately, the 11 distilleries-which stopped production-produce around 26 lakh cases of liquor in a month. From October-2016, the licence fee was increased from Rs 1 per proof litre to Rs 2, which the distilleries owners said that is the highest in the country. Per case (which has 12 bottles of 750-ml liquor), in TS, they pay Rs 12 as licence fee.
The owners said that a few distilleries are not able to meet their full production capacity. “For instance, let us say a distillery can produce four lakh cases per month and pay full licence of `50 lakh. If they do not have demand for the brand of liquor they produce and produce half the capacity, their licence fee goes for waste,” said owner of a distillery.