OSBC urges Odisha govt to unlicence five top breweries

Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 18:

A day after the expiry of the deadline to sign the required agreement with it, the Odisha State Beverages Corporation (OSBC), the state-run wholesale distributor of beer and Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL), urged the state government on Friday to cancel the licenses of five breweries which failed the sign the agreement  for supply of beer for 2015-16.

liquor shop

The move comes a day after the five companies–Carlsberg, United Breweries Ltd, SABMiller India, MP Beer Products Ltd and Devans Breweries Ltd– failed to sign pact with the state government within the deadline which expired on Thursday.

The corporation has moved the state government for cancellation of factory licences and label registration of breweries run by these five companies in the state as they are opposing the reduction in offer price of beer to the extent of 20 per cent in the new excise policy of the state.

The OSBC has urged the Excise Commissioner and Secretary to initiate the process for cancellation of license.

In the event of cancellation of license, the companies will not be allowed to produce alcoholic beverages in the state. These five suppliers amount to more than 70 percent of the market share in the state.

“Either they withdraw the label registration and license or cancel it. The commission has recommended cancellation of the license to the government,” MD OSBC, Dwijaraj Kar said.

The state government claims that excise revenue collection has been affected as the companies are supplying beer without signing the pact. With this, the revenue has dipped 86 percent since the start of this financial year, sources said.

The Excise minister has said that the task force recommendations on offer price could be revisited.

“They have submitted a memorandum citing that they would incur losses with the new excise policy. The committee constituted to look into this would decide on it. If their claims are found to be true that they are really making losses, then we would reconsider the decision or else they would be forced to abide by the new excise policy,” state Excise Minister Damodar Rout said.

As per the new excise policy, the state government has reduced the offer price of beer companies by 20 percent and that of IMFL by 10 percent.

Notably, before the expiry of the deadline to sign pact with the government, as many as 31 IMFL and 7 beer companies signed agreements with the corporation.

It may be mentioned that SABMiller India sells beer under the brand names of Haywards 5000, Fosters and Knockout while Tuborg and Carlsberg are the popular brands of Carlsberg India. Vijay Mallya owned United Breweries sells its beers under the brand names of Kingfisher, Kalyani Black Label. The leading brands of MP Beer Products Ltd and Devans Breweries are Maharani and God Father respectively.

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