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Himachal could ban entry of liquor into state

Shimla, Oct 9 (IANS) To promote alcohol sales in Himachal Pradesh and earn more revenues, the government here is considering a proposal to legally stop tourists and visitors from bringing liquor into the state.

Monday, October 9, 2006 | 8:34:04 AM IST (+05:30 GMT)
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Shimla, Oct 9 (IANS) To promote alcohol sales in Himachal Pradesh and earn more revenues, the government here is considering a proposal to legally stop tourists and visitors from bringing liquor into the state.

As the state has slapped heavy excise duty, liquor in Himachal Pradesh is among the most expensive in the country. Many holidaymakers thronging resorts in this hill state prefer bringing liquor with them.

Apart from tourists, even people of the state often buy liquor from vends located close to the borders with Haryana, Punjab, Uttaranchal and Jammu and Kashmir.

'We do not intend to harass tourists and other travellers at the borders. But the government is considering amending the law so that cheaper liquor from other states is not allowed into Himachal,' said Susheel Negi, the state excise commissioner.

Like most other states in the country, except Gujarat where a prohibition policy is in place, travellers entering Himachal Pradesh are allowed to carry two bottles of whiskey and a crate of beer.

The price difference, however, is eating into the state's revenues.

Excise department officials say the state suffers a loss of some Rs.8.5 billion thanks to travellers who come here with their own stock of liquor.

The ban could provide a fillip to the liquor industry in the state that has been lobbying for the move. The tourism sector fears it could put off tourists.

Copyright : Indo-Asian News Service
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