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Bidding for liquor shops in Adilabad on a `high'

S. Harpal Singh

Excise policy uncertainties no bar for retailers


  • Quotations exceed by 6.40 cr. of upset price
  • Rampant smuggling from across border likely
  • High liquor sales in district
  • Liquor sold in villages through `belt shops'

    ADILABAD: Ignoring the initial anxiety caused by the new excise policy, bidders for the retail liquor shops in Adilabad district have quoted `high' prices. For the 207 vends in the district, 890 bidders quoted Rs. 6.40 crores in excess of the upset rental price of Rs. 9.56 crores cumulatively.

    Despite the Government cutting down on the profit margins of the retailers and fixing retail prices of all brands of liquor, the business remained popular. Certain shops were `sold' for an increase of over 150 per cent on the existing rentals.

    The enthusiasm among the bidders, given the handicaps, gives rise to questions like how they will make profits on huge investments. Many new retailers were willing to talk about the methods of earning profits on Thursday, when their tenders were being opened.

    "One way to earn profit is to smuggle liquor from Maharashtra. The other is to form syndicates to control prices of liquor in retail. Already inflow of `desi daru' (country liquor) has started from the vends in Pippalkuti and Kanki in Maharashtra," revealed a successful bidder.

    The new maximum retail price of cheap liquor at Rs. 35 per nip makes it costlier than the country liquor across the border, which costs only Rs. 25 per nip. Similarly, some of the premium liquor brands like Royal Stag are cheaper by Rs. 50 in Maharashtra. Such liquor can be sold off the shelves of the valid retail counters here resulting in higher margins, according to another bidder.

    `High' in Adilabad

    Adilabad has constantly registered higher liquor sales. During May 2005, about 50,000 boxes of beer and an equal number of liquor boxes were sold earning Rs. 11.5 crores for the Government. Most of the liquor is sold in villages through the `belt shops'.

    A few exceptions apart, almost all the villages, especially in the areas of Mancherial, Kagaznagar, Asifabad and Nirmal have belt shops.

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