NEW DELHI: Delhiites may continue to shell out 70% extra on liquor for at least two more weeks after the Delhi government deferred a proposal to withdraw the ‘special corona fee’ on Thursday. According to government representatives aware of the matter, the proposal to roll back additional tax was discussed in the cabinet meeting but it was deferred.
“Reports doing the rounds that the Delhi government has today decided to roll back the 70% ‘Special Corona Fee’ on liquor are not true. The matter has been deferred by the Cabinet,” AAP leader Ghanendra Bhardwaj said in a tweet.
On May 4, the government had opened around 150 liquor stores, being run by government agencies, but next day allowed only 80 stores to operate as it found crowds unmanageable. It also decided to levy 70 per cent additional tax on the maximum retail price of the bottle as special corona fee.
Officials said the proposal to discontinue special corona fee was mooted fearing that high liquor prices might lead to revenue loss as alcohol in neighbouring states—Haryana and Uttar Pradesh (UP)—is available at cheaper rates.
“The proposal for withdrawal of 70 % special corona tax was initiated as some were of the opinion people may purchase liquor from neighbouring Haryana or UP, where prices are comparatively less. Or High prices in the national capital may encourage inter-state illegal trade. It was decided to defer the plan as the borders are still sealed,” said a government source.
In first ten days of reopening of liquor shop, the government fetched additional revenue — about Rs 65 crore as special corona fee. The total sale was about Rs 100 crore. On Tuesday, the government allowed more government and privately-run liquor stores located in various markets and market complexes to initiate business during fourth phase of the lockdown.