The Excise and Taxation Department of Jammu and Kashmir is preparing itself to hold a ‘transparent method’ of allotment of liquor vends in the Union Territory before the same gets expired on March 31 this year.
The allotment process will begin at least a week before March 31 as a bench of J&K High Court had directed the government in December 2020 to adopt a transparent method in allotment of liquor vends. The court had stated that the transparent process was not to be limited to the persons in power or close to the corridors of power “as had been the practice”.
The corrupt practice where some persons close to the power corridors were given permanent license for liquor vends was challenged in the court. There are a total of 223 liquor vends in the UT.
However as per sources, it has been learnt that the Excise Department may adopt a lottery or e-tendering method from this year to end the decades old system of renewal of licenses where new players are not allowed to enter into the system by the liquor mafia of J&K.
The Bench had stated in its order, “The process for the renewal of licences was being followed where admittedly allotments had not been made in a transparent manner. The same were done only on the recommendation of the finance minister concerned,”
It has been reliably learnt that the lottery system or e-tendering may introduce new faces but the influential and connected vend owners are leaving no stone unturned to keep their men in the system.