The government had increased liquor prices by 20 to 25 per cent late on Wednesday, to generate additional revenue of up to Rs 7,000 crore. This is the second increase in prices after May 2020. Representational image/DC
Hyderabad: The government’s sudden decision to increase liquor prices from Thursday will hit the poorest the hardest, with the price of quarter bottles hiked by up to Rs 120, liquor shop owners said.
Retailers expected the people to absorb the hike and pay for the liquor like they were doing in the case of motor fuels. Several liquor marts and wine shops opened around noon after officials conducted a stock audit after the price increase, and a new price list was generated and implemented. The audit had started on Wednesday night after the outlets had shut their shutters.
Excise officials made sure that the liquor was not sold at previous prices post the government decision of price hike.
The government had increased liquor prices by 20 to 25 per cent late on Wednesday, to generate additional revenue of up to Rs 7,000 crore. This is the second increase in prices after May 2020.
Some owners of liquor stores were unhappy with the decision. "It is a helpless and hopeless situation. The price hike is huge and it comes after neighbouring states are reversing their stand after realising the problems with high prices and looking to bring them down," said a senior retailer running a liquor mart in Secunderabad.
"We had good sales. The latest price hike will affect volumes and the poorest have to pay the most. People are feeling the pinch already, as the price hike in some brands is huge," he said. "Time will show if the sales will be impacted," he said.
A representative of the Wine Dealers Association said the government had the right to increase the rates and retailers would follow the law. "We are the licence holders, we take the stock and sell it. If they ask us to sell it at Rs 100, we will do so. It's up to the buyer to say the amount is okay."
"The same thing happened with petrol," the association representative said.
"People eventually adjusted to the hike. People feel the need for alcohol. The government has understood the pulse of the public and they are sure that the people will buy it (at higher rates)."
He feared that consumers returning to the shops for a ‘second round’ may pick up quarrels with the liquor store staff over the prices.