Fair price shop dealers’ forum seeks permission to sell liquor – Kolkata News

Fair price shop dealers’ forum seeks permission to sell liquor – Kolkata News

Kolkata, Sep 26 (IANS) The Kolkata-headquartered All India Fair Price Shop Dealers’ Federation, the biggest association of fair price shop owners in the country, has demanded permission to sell alcoholic beverages through their network of fair price shops or ration shops.

Fair price shop dealers' forum seeks permission to sell liquor - Kolkata News

The Federation’s national General Secretary, Biswambhar Basu told IANS that he has already forwarded a letter to the Union Food and Public Distribution Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey on this count, a copy of which has also been forwarded to Union Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Piyush Goyal.

“I am already in New Delhi and scheduled to have a meeting with Pandey on this count on Tuesday. In the meeting I will explain to him why it has become necessary to allow the fair price shop dealers to sell liquor,” he said.

Basu said that in Delhi, liquor is allowed to be sold from registered fair price shops there.

“Currently, in India, there are 5,37,868 fair price shops. Excluding those which are in states like Bihar and Gujarat, where the state’s own prohibition law exists, our demand is that all other fair price shops in the country should be allowed to sell liquor,” he said.

According to him, already running fair price shops have become extremely difficult for the owners because of the extremely low margins.

“Our profit will shrink further from next month following the decision to discontinue with the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana scheme. In view of the current situation, we request the Union government to allow us to sell alcoholic beverages from licensed manufacturers through fair price shops which will also help the state governments to increase their revenue through state excise,” Basu said.

Basu also said that sale of alcoholic beverages through fair price shops will also ensure that no spurious or adulterated liquor, that might cause severe health hazards or even deaths, is sold to the public.

A senior official of the West Bengal Finance Department, on strict condition of anonymity, said that in principle, there is no reason why the state government will oppose any move by the Union government to permit sale of liquor through fair price shops.

“State excise is currently the most important source of the state’s own tax revenue generation. At the same time, the state-run West Bengal State Beverage Corporation is currently the only wholesale liquor distributor in the state. More outlets mean sale and hence in such a situation, the state government has no reason to object the move,” he said.

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