Ponty’s companies restore liquor supply in UP

Wholesale liquor supply was restored in Uttar Pradesh on Monday by companies of Gurdeep Singh Chadha alias Ponty Chadha, who was killed in a gunfight in Delhi on Saturday.

Flora and Fauna Company Private Limited, which handles country-made liquor trade, and Prakash and Company, responsible for Indian made foreign liquor, resumed operations on Monday.

Both companies, which control wholesale liquor trade in UP, had stopped operations after the death of Ponty and his brother Hardeep on Saturday.

Anil Aggarwal, spokesperson of the Lucknow Liquor Association, said, "Both companies restored liquor supply on Monday. Everything appears to be normal and there was no hitch."

The UP Excise department assured the association that Ponty's death won't affect liquor business in the state because the contracts had been awarded to the companies, not Ponty.

"The two companies were given contracts for wholesale supply and they are valid until March 31, 2013," Excise Commissioner Mahesh Kumar Gupta said.

Chadha's firms reportedly control 40 per cent of retail outlets in Meerut, Moradabad, Noida, Agra and a few other districts in the state.

Liquor trade is one of the major sources of revenue for the state government. Last year, the government earned Rs 7,650 crore. This year, it is expected to be Rs 9,010 crore.

Till September-end, the figure stood at Rs 4,458 crore, which is 21.35 per cent higher than revenues for the same period last year.

Before 2007, liquor trade was controlled by several operators who had their own areas of operation. Ponty's firms were given control of liquor trade during the Mayawati regime. In 2009, the Mayawati government opened the trade to private firms. The policy said consortiums could not participate in bids. It helped Ponty acquire monopoly of wholesale liqour trade.

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