PUDUCHERRY:With Puducherry once again attracting a large number of tipplers because of the wide gap in liquor price between the UT and neighbouring states, the Excise department has set its eyes on cashing in on the frenzy.
Responding to requests, the department has extended the time for sale of liquor in restaurants and hotels with bars by an hour. There are 89 hotels listed under the category in all the four regions of the UT.
Justifying the extension of time, the Deputy Commissioner of Excise Abel Rosario said it was meant basically for hotel guests. There is demand from tourists for serving liquor beyond 11 pm. However, the decision is considered as a move to enhancing excise income, which is a major revenue grosser. Taking a cue from several States like Maharashtra and Karnataka, the time limit has been extended for facilitating tourists.
The price of premium brand of liquor is almost the half compared to neighbouring States, especially Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Even in the medium brand category, there is appreciable price difference. Besides, the lowering of the rates of wine by delinking it from the duty on IMFL has evoked good response from consumers. The Excise duty structure for premium brands was lowered in 2013 making liquor cheaper, compared to Tamil Nadu which increased the Excise duty twice in the intervening period.