JAMMU, Mar 10: A day after Jammu and Kashmir administration released the Draft Excise Policy for 2021-22, Jammu Wine Traders Association (JWTA) expressed reservations over the proposal to allot liquor vends through the e-auction process and feared that the liquor traders may lose their livelihood under the new regime.
“We reject this policy, which is meant for rich persons alone. None of us can afford to compete in the e-auction as we are small traders who earn their livelihood from this business for decades,” said JWTA president Charanjeet Singh, while addressing a press conference along with other members of the Association, here today.
Claiming that the present licensees are small traders who earn their livelihood from this business and their income is just to bear their day today expenses, the Association president said: “The rich people can bid a huge amount of money, which is required to run this business as per new draft policy, thus snatching livelihood from small traders and creating a liquor mafia.”
He informed that 30,000 families are directly or indirectly involved in earning their livelihood from this business and most of the present licensees are widows, senior citizens and unemployed youth who have no other source of income.
Suggesting that the Government can issue new licenses in unserved and underserved areas without snatching the livelihood of the existing people, the Association sought intervention of Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh and Lt Governor Manoj Sinha in addressing their concerns.
Demanding continuation of the existing policy, the Association pointed out that the state like Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttrakhand and UP have adopted existing J&K Policy of renewing licensees as it is the best possible way to do away with the mafia system and generate as much as revenue desired by the Government.
Charanjeet Singh said that the liquor traders are working as revenue collecting agents of the Government and fully abide by the rules and regulations. “We started contributing Rs 2,500 monthly towards Social Responsibility Corpus fund and also donated 13 ambulances and relief items over the years,” he said.