Alcohol prices

Assam braces for 65% rise in alcohol prices, excise minimum says ‘drink 2 pegs instead of 3’

Silchar: Minister of Excise of Assam Parimal Suklabaidya said on Monday that the aim of rising alcohol prices in Assam from June 15 was to “get people to drink less so that their health stays good”.

The excise department of Government of Assam issued a notification on June 2 regarding the price increase of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) in Assam from June 15. The hike will affect certain brands, including rum, whisky, gin and brandy, the notification said.

Talk to IsMojo Monday afternoon, Parimal Suklabaidya said that the idea behind rising alcohol prices is to keep people (alcoholics) away from alcohol and help them lead healthy lives. “Rising alcohol prices will cause people to drink less. One who drinks three pegs (a day) will drink two pegs once the alcohol prices go up. In this way, a person will live a life healthy,” Suklabaidya said.

“We (the government) cannot drain the state or prevent people from drinking. If we do that, people will start protesting,” the minister said.

He also added that the government had no plans to cut prices once raised, quashing speculation that the hike could be temporary.

News of rising alcohol prices in the state from June 15 caught the attention of social media with large numbers of netizens ‘expressing sadness’ over the government’s decision. A netizen wrote: “Even the British have never taxed us so much…”. Another user said, “A habitual drinker will drink regardless of the increase in the price of alcohol by cutting down on spending on other essentials.”

A wine shop in Ramnagar, Silchar said according to reports, the price of some selected brands would be increased. When asked if people were buying alcohol in large quantities after the news of the hike, he said the sale of alcohol in his store remained the same as usual. So far, there has been no panic buying by customers, the wine shop owner said.

Another Tarapur wine shop owner, Silchar, said there was no change in liquor sales after the announcement of the upcoming price hike. He, however, claimed that the reports (uploaded by a few news portals) of a 65% rise in alcohol prices were false and that the rise would be much more symbolic.

Last month, the government of Meghalaya decided to increase IMFL prices by 1-9% in the state.

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