Film parties gone dry! (Column: B-Town). Image Source: IANS News

Jaipur, March 8 : The change in excise policy this year brought in golden times for a wine shop in Hanumangarh district of Rajasthan as it attracted the highest bid of Rs 510 crore starting from a base price of Rs 72 lakh.

As per the latest change in the excise policy, the shops are being auctioned online instead of the prevailing lottery system. The e-auctions have started in the state with over 7,000 such shops following the process as of now.

Going with the new rule, the bidding at a wine shop in Hanumangarh started at 11 a.m. in the morning which ended after midnight and that too, after the highest bid was over Rs 500 crore.

The bidding started at Rs 72 lakh in the morning and it went on for the entire day and after midnight, it ended at 2 a.m. with the highest price quoted at an astronomical Rs 510 crore! Ever since the new policy has been implemented, the e-auction of wine shops in Rajasthan is witnessing an average of over 30 per cent higher bidding than the base price, said officials.

Excise officials said that the e-auction for the wine shops started three days ago. Under the same process, one Kiran Kanwar from Nohar got the wine shop in a Rs 510 crore bid which is around 708 times more than the base price.

"As per the rule, a demand notice needs to be sent to the bidder who has to deposit two per cent of the bidding amount in the next three days or else his allotment gets cancelled. If the bidder fails to deposit the money, then the security deposit of over Rs 1 lakh shall be forfeited," said officials.

Besides Nohar, a wine shop in Churu district has been sold in a bid of Rs 11 crore and another shop in Jaipur's Sanganer has been sold in an e-auction for Rs 8.91 crores.

In fact many shops in Sujangarh, Churu and Hanumangarh are earning crores in auction although the base price of these shops has been between Rs 1-2 crores only, officials added.

However, some wine traders are citing competition for the high bidding for getting wine shops.

As per the new excise policy of the government of Rajasthan, now liquor shop allotment is being done through e-auction instead of the earlier system of a lottery.

Former chief minister Vasundhara Raje had abolished the system but under Ashok Gehlot, the bidding system has started again.

As per the state excise policy for 2021-22 declared recently, beer has been made cheaper and will be available at a lower price from April 1.

The new excise policy announced a reduction in additional excise duty and MRP on beer, which will reduce its price by Rs 30-Rs 35. Also, there will be no more Covid surcharge on all excise items, except Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) and bottled-in-origin (BIO) or imported liquor.

Further, there will be no special vend fees on IMFL and beer.

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