Friday 23 August 2019

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Issues | Liquor

Excise seals 56 liquor distilleries

 

Goa has sealed 56 distilleries, manufacturing Indian Made Foreign Liquor as well as country liquor, in an attempt to stop production of spurious liquor in the tourist state.

"I can proudly claim that at least 90 per cent manufacture and sale of spurious liquor has stopped in last six months", states P S Reddy, the state excise commissioner. He however admits that production of spurious country liquor and export still continues.

The excise department was suddenly activated recently, raiding several units manufacturing poisonous liquor while several outlets selling such IMFL were also sealed. It included popular brands of whisky, brandy and rum as well as 'imported' scotch.

On the other hand, claims Reddy, that unauthorised import of industry alcohol, which was later diverted for manufacturing spurious liquor, has also stopped by tightening control over permitting such imports.

As per the survey conducted by the state excise department, only three among 36 units were actually using industrial alcohol for production of French polish etc. The department has now cancelled licence of three such units while remaining 27 have still not come forward, asking permits to import industrial alcohol.

In Goa, 33 distilleries legally manufacture 1.08 crore of bulk litres of IMFL and 15.30 lakh of beer annually. However, around 80 lakh bottles of spurious liquor was also distilled here, mixing poisonous industrial alcohol into it, and even exporting it in neighbouring states, besides selling it to tourists in Goa.

The production however has slowed down as exports to Kerala has also reduced drastically with the southern state tendering its import and supply through a state corporation. Goa was to export over one lakh bulk litres of IMFL every month earlier.

With chief minister Manohar Parrikar coming down with iron hand on those evading excise duty, the state revenue has also increased to around Rs 23 core since March, compared to only Rs 16 crore collected last year in these six months.

However, the excise department has pulled up its sleeves once again with tourism season beginning next month. The CM has supposedly fixed responsibility on excise departments, posted in each distillery, if any more illicit or spurious liquor is found to have been manufactured.

Excise officials however admit in private that most of the legal units still manufacture 10 bottles without paying duty behind every bottle that is shown on the record. "If we come down on them, half of these companies will run away from Goa", states one senior excise official.






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