Tipplers keep fingers crossed as cabinet ponders over liquor

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Old 22-Feb-2011
Tipplers keep fingers crossed as cabinet ponders over liquor

Chandigarh February 22:

The Cabinet of Punjab is divided over the issue of increasing liquor prices in the State which goes to Assembly polls early next year.

A section of leaders, mainly from the BJP, are in favour of increasing the price of liquor, but are being opposed by their SAD counterpart. “The Cabinet will take the final call on Tuesday while finalising the new excise policy for the coming fiscal,” a senior Government functionary said.

He said: “The Government is in two minds in this regard. You know very well that this is the election year. By increasing the price of liquor, you might end up losing some sympathy. What I feel is that the Government might not increase the price of country-made liquor but that of imported ones.” Last year, the Government increased the quota for country made liquor by 15 per cent while that of Indian made foreign liquor had remained unchanged. The prices of country liquor and IMFL had been increased marginally, ranging from `5 to `10 per bottle after the approval by the Cabinet.

The BJP Ministers refused to comment on the issue. “The issue is going to be discussed in the Cabinet on Tuesday. Till then, one should wait. We are, however, of the view that liquor is responsible for several social evils,” said a Cabinet Minister from the BJP quota, who refused to be named. The Cabinet would also take up the issues for Ensuring Career Progressive Scheme for the employees, agenda revival of direct recruitment of the senior assistant officers and Atta Dal schemes.

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