Excise dept mopped up Rs 7.5 cr on New Yearís eve

Delhi rape incident affected party scene this December, say officials.

Excise collection in December 2012 touched Rs 7.5 crore, up 22 per cent compared with December 2011, when collections had almost doubled to Rs 6 crore vis-ŗ-vis the previous December.

Excise department officers said the rise was indicative more of an "increase in the number of permits, wine licences, import fee and pub licences". The party scene on the eve of the New Year witnessed a lull, they said, largely because of the general gloomy environment due to the Delhi gangrape incident. Overall liquor sales rose just five per cent against the target of 10 per cent in December. In December 2011, the state government had extended the deadline to sell liquor on the last day to 5 am, ensuring a collection of Rs 6 crore. The bulk of revenue then was from actual sales.

"This New Year's eve, we found pubs and other places downing shutters soon after 1 am, with limited crowd waiting till late. The Delhi tragedy affected everyone. Consumption figures across the city show that not many people partied," said R S Parmar, superintendent of excise, Mumbai City.

In 2012, the state government extended the deadline on the eve of new year to 5 am, but excise officers on field submitted a report that most pubs shut shop, with many big ticket parties getting cancelled. They noted thinner crowds at some regular pubs and five-star hotels, indicating the city did not party beyond 1.30 am, unlike in 2011 when parties continued till 5 am.

"The Mumbai Police Social Service Branch had conducted a few raids at south Mumbai bars, which led to other bars shutting before the state approved deadline. At several regular haunts, our officers did not find customers," he added.

The department registered 53 cases of illicit liquour being smuggled and consumed as well as of duty evasion. Overall, liquor worth Rs 21 lakh was seized in raids. The department also saw limited party permits being sought. In December, 495 permits were issued in December, which was an increase from the year before. In one of the raids, the officers also seized cash worth Rs 2.37 lakh from an illicit liquor den.

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