J&K Govt hoodwinking people by false narratives on New Excise Policy: JWTA



JAMMU: Jammu Wine Traders Association (JWTA), Traders Federation of Ware House-Nehru Market and Bazaar Association in a joint press conference held on Wednesday alleged contradictions in the notification issued by Excise Commissioner, Jammu & Kashmir with regard to the New Excise Policy.
Amid the ongoing stir by wine traders, Jammu & Kashmir Excise Commissioner has sought to defend the new policy by claiming it to be ‘transparent’, saying e-bidding of liquor licenses is being projected as a measure to end the so-called monopoly. “The department is brazenly trying to hoodwink the public by its false narrative,” the liquor traders lamented.
Jammu Wine Traders Association (JWTA) accused the Excise Department of misleading the public through the advertisement and challenged it to justify each point before them.
Gurvinder Singh, member JWTA, while alleging contradictions in the notification, challenged the Excise Commissioner to discuss each point with any member of JWTA. He said that the notification was issued only to mislead the general public.
“The new policy is full of flaws and is a death-knell for Jammu wine traders, who cannot compete in e-auction to save their decades-old business. The High Court judgment clearly maintains that the renewal of the licenses of the trade in liquor is permissible under law,” JWTA member Devender Singh told the reporters.
He said the department is boasting of transparency, ‘which cannot be guaranteed as in 2005 one of its own employees was involved in the fraud during the introduction of the e-lottery system’. Now, he said, there cannot be any guarantee that the e-auction will be free of fraud.
“The department is speaking about ending monopoly. On the contrary, as per the new policy, a family can manage to get multiple licenses. The solvency certificate is only meant to safeguard the government revenue instead of providing safeguards to a trader, who, in case of any untoward incident, cannot transfer the license to his or her family member,” he said.
He said that 30,000 families are directly or indirectly involved in earning their livelihood from wine trade and most of the present licensees are widows, senior citizens and unemployed youth, who have no other source of income.
The wine traders alleged that despite no unfavourable report against them, the government is rendering them jobless.
While addressing media, Traders Federation President Deepak Gupta extended his support to the agitating wine traders and urged Lt Governor Manoj Sinha and Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh to personally look into their demands and safeguard their livelihood by reviewing new policy.
Pertinent to mention here that hundreds of wine traders are on the streets since past one month in protest against e-auction of liquor vends under the New Excise Policy.