CHANDIGARH, MARCH 29
The conscious and calibrated decision taken by the Haryana Government to go in for fresh e-bidding of liquor vends in 42 zones, spanning three revenue districts of Faridabad, Gurugram (East) & Gurugram (West), where it suspected cartelisation had come in the way of realisation of their true revenue potential, has paid rich dividends.
Disclosing this, a spokesman of the Excise and Taxation Department said here today that in the first round, where cartelization was suspected, the department received a cumulative bid amount of Rs 663.69 crore in respect of these 42 zones.
But during the fresh e-bidding held subsequently on 27.03.2018 and 28.03.2018 for these zones, the department received a cumulative bid amount of Rs.787.11 crore, adding a whopping sum of Rs.123.42 crore to the government kitty.
The decision to go in for fresh bidding, taken after due diligence and discussion with the Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Lal, and the Excise and Taxation Minister, Capt Abhimanyu, has resulted in an increase of 18.6 per cent over the initial bid amount, clearly underscoring the success of the Excise Policy for 2018-19.
Giving details, the spokesman said during the first round of e-bidding held in all districts from 14.03.2018 to 20.03.2018, it was observed that all districts, except Gurugram (East), Gurugram (West) and Faridabad, witnessed high revenue growth, thereby realizing their true revenue potential.
Even districts like Sonepat, Panipat and Kaithal fetched revenue growth of more than 20%, way ahead of the growth witnessed in earlier years. But on the other hand, Gurugram (West) and Faridabad registered a negative growth of 4.08% and 2.13% respectively, in comparison to the license fee last year. Although Gurugram (East) witnessed a meagre growth of 1.84%, it no way represented true potential of the district.
Faridabad, Gurugram (East) & Gurugram (West) are high revenue potential districts contributing approximately more than 1/3rd of the total revenue of the state from auction of the retail vends. Historically, these districts have consistently shown annual revenue growth. Even during 2017-18, despite the Supreme Court restriction of 500 metres with regard to location of vends on the national/ state highway, all districts except these three had shown a negative growth.
Faridabad in 2017-18 showed revenue growth of 18.51%, the highest in the state. Similarly, the revenue district of Gurugram during 2017-18 registered a growth of 10.31%.
The spokesman said as the bid amount initially received for 2018-19 was not commensurate with true potential of the districts of Gurugram (East), Gurugram (West) and Faridabad, a foul play in the form of cartelization was suspected by the government, which scuttled competitive bidding, and consequently, made a dent in the state revenue.
This department did not find it acceptable as even the ethos of the Excise Policy, as stated in its Preamble, aimed at breaking cartels in the trade of liquor. Hence, all zones pertaining to these three districts were analyzed individually in terms of their potentiality and 16 such zones in Gurugram (West), 11 zones in Gurugram (East) and 15 zones in Faridabad district that failed to realize their true revenue potential, were identified.
Subsequently, the state government took a tough stand on the issue, and after discussion with the Chief Minister and the Excise and Taxation Minister, the department decided not to approve allotment of these 42 zones belonging to these three excise districts, and a decision to go for fresh bidding was taken on 22.03.2018.
In the meantime, one of the highest bidders of the first round from Faridabad district filed a civil writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on 26.03.2018, challenging the decision of the government to go in for fresh bidding. The matter was taken up by the court on 27.03.2018 and was dismissed, vindicating the stand of the government.
This cleared the way for fresh bidding which has resulted in additional revenue of Rs 123.42 crore to the state exchequer, the spokesman added.