The first batch of branded country spirit has hit the market in Assam which is manufactured under the new policy of the state government. The excise department is hopeful that it will further enhance the revenue collection of the department once it is available in the market.

“We have already given the products to the retail in Jorhat area on Saturday. Gradually we will increase the numbers seeing the demand of the product,” Ajay Dutta, proprietor of Associated Alcohol and Beverage Co in Jorhat, told The News Mill.

The company has manufactured 1,000 cases of country spirit, following registration of the MRP and brand. The liquor will come in three flavours – lemon, orange and plain – under the brand name ‘Rhino’.

The country spirit was manufactured using fully automatic machines and it contains 12 per cent alcohol.

The consumer price of a full bottle is fixed at Rs 55 and Rs 30 for a half.

The new policy that came into effect in February last, intending to make the country spirit trade transparent and hygienic, a senior excise official said the revenue from the trade, which was around Rs 21 crore, may jump to Rs 200 crore.

Earlier, the state government had abolished the mahal system and amended the Excise Rules to put in place a scientific system of bottling and trading of country spirit. It will also help curb the menace of illicit country liquor.

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Excise minister Parimal Suklabaidya said that altogether four companies have applied for production and bottling license of country liquor. “Two in Kamrup Metro district and one in Kamrup Rural district besides the one in Jorhat district,” Suklabaidya had told media couple of weeks back.

The sale of country liquor in Assam was 74.18 lakh LPL (London proof litres) in 2015-16, it recorded a sale of 63.75 lakh LPL in the 2016-17 fiscal. The sale figure is expected to go up in the current fiscal due to the steps to check revenue leakages.

In the 2015-2016 fiscal, the department had registered a revenue income of Rs 799.51 crore while in 2016-2017 it earned more than Rs 970 crore, an increase of Rs 170.49 crore.

“We are expecting even more revenue during the current fiscal. We have brought several reforms and the system has become transparent,” said an official of the department.

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Abdul Gani is a Guwahati-based journalist


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