Wine traders charges Govt for bringing new Excise Policy to benefit rich, outsider

Spokesperson of JWTA Charanjit Singh along with other members addressing a press conference at Jammu. —Excelsior/Rakesh
Spokesperson of JWTA Charanjit Singh along with other members addressing a press conference at Jammu. —Excelsior/Rakesh

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Apr 22: The members of Jammu Wine Traders Association (JWTA) has charged the Jammu and Kashmir Government for bringing Excise Policy 2021-22 with lots of loopholes, flaws and with intentions to benefit the rich and outsiders using J&K Domicile certificates through proxy e-auction bidding.

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“The main objective of the Excise Policy 2021-22 was to remove the monopoly and cartelization in the wine trade but the list of successful bidders out by the Excise Department shows that some groups from outside J&K and few families have got multiple number of licenses using the proxy of local persons in their contact in the bidding,” spokesperson of JWTA Charanjit Singh said while addressing a press conference.
He said the few families have also succeeded in getting 10 to 20 licenses each on the names of their family members and relatives through proxy biddings while about 200 licensees who were doing this trade for decades and were having one license each could not get a single in this system of e-auction.
Singh alleged that the outsiders group had hired professional software experts for bidding and at one time, 5 to 8 persons were bidding for the same location using more than one computer with the same ID. He further alleged that the basic safeguards like CAPTCHA and OTP verification to prevent automated and pre-programmed bidding were lacked in the software used for e-auction system.
“What baffles the minds is the fact that a vend achieving a sale of two lakh per day ends up paying Rupees one crore or two crore as fixed license fee. It is a matter of investigation by the Income Tax Department that how such huge amounts were paid by some bidders who even have not file income tax return for last 5 years,” he said and appealed the Government agencies to please enquire that what is the source of their income who bid such a huge amounts for acquiring the licenses.