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Haryana’s new excise policy sets fixed prices to tackle unfair competition in liquor sales

Haryana’s new excise policy, under which a minimum retail price (MRP) will be fixed for imported liquor, aims to tackle unhealthy competition among liquor sellers who were luring customers with discounts and other unfair means, officials familiar with the matter said.

There are 432 liquor vendors in Gurugram. (Representative photo/HT Archives)

Jitender Dudi, Deputy Commissioner of Excise and Taxation (DETC) in the West, said the new policy comes amid multiple complaints of unhealthy competition. With fixed prices, the problem will be solved and promote a fairer market, he said.

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“For the first time, minimum retail prices have been set for imported foreign liquor (IFL). Previously, this only applied to Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL). There is no MRP on alcohol in Haryana, they (sellers) can sell it at any price without having to give any discount, and the prices are cheaper than in Delhi for l “imported alcohol,” he said.

The new policy will come into effect on June 12.

The DETC said that, for example, a bottle of imported alcohol was sold between 1,800 and 2,200, with different prices offered by liquor sellers to stay in the competition. “Now, if the price is set at 2,400, no liquor seller can sell it below,” he said.

There are 432 liquor vendors in the district, including 244 in the west zone, he said.

Dudi said that starting June 12, alcohol prices will be standardized across all outlets. “This uniform pricing approach aims to eliminate confusion among consumers, who previously faced varying offers from different alcohol sellers. Such discrepancies have also raised concerns about the quality and potential adulteration of the products. With uniform prices, consumers can make informed decisions without worry,” he said.

Apart from normalization of prices, excise officials said the IFL price has also been increased and it will come into effect by June 12.

Neeraj Sachdeva, director of Lakeforest Wines, said the new policy will encourage fair competition in the liquor market. “Imported foreign liquor has always been cheaper in Gurugram than in Delhi, so people from Delhi and neighboring areas have come here to buy. But now, with the same prices everywhere, people are no longer looking for the best deals or asking for additional discounts. This change simplifies shopping for consumers and creates a fairer system for sellers,” he said.

Shashank Sangal, owner of the Liquor Forte retail chain, said the change simplifies their operations and removes the pressure to constantly adjust prices to match those of the competition. “This will allow us to focus more on providing quality services and products to our customers, rather than engaging in a price war. Overall, I believe this will lead to a more stable and sustainable business environment for all of us in the industry,” he said.

Consumers were, however, disappointed as the new policy means they will not be able to seek discounts.

Delhi resident Rohit Verma said finding the best deal was part of the “fun of buying alcohol” in Gurugram. “With fixed prices, we feel like we’re losing out,” he said.

Priya Patel, a Delhi resident, said it was disappointing to see the end of the negotiation culture. “We’ll have to adjust to the premium price, but it definitely takes away some of the excitement of shopping for alcohol. We used to divide into groups and visit different liquor vendors to check the best price,” she said.