espite opposition from some quarters, the State government has gone ahead with its process for operating a central bonded warehouse in the State
According to sources, the Excise Department has invited bids from individuals and companies dealing in liquor trade for operating the central bonded warehouse.
Sources also informed that a tender for operating the central bonded warehouse was floated recently by the Commissioner of Excise. The technical bids will be opened on December 17.
The selected bidder will be allowed to operate the central bonded warehouse for supply of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL), beer and wine to all the 44 bonded warehouses in the State.
It may be recalled that last month, the State cabinet decided to introduce Central Bonded Warehouse and added a new Rule 44& Rule 4(1) of the Meghalaya Bonded Warehouses Rules.
According to Chief Minister Conrad Sangma , the central bonded warehouse will ensure revenue collection from one source. He also said that bonded warehouses in the State will be given a minimum profit margin eligibility of 8 per cent.
He had also said that all the 44 bonded warehouse in the State would purchase products from this central warehouse and even the ad valorem tax will be paid by the central bonded warehouse.
“The revenue collection will be from one source and it would reduce chances of leakages,” Sangma had said.
However, the State BJP has opposed the introduction of the central bonded warehouse in the State.
Bernard N Marak, state vice president said that the central bonded warehouse will monopolise the liquor business in Meghalaya and few people will control the entire supply of liquor in the State.
The State BJP leader alleged that few ministers want to control the supply of liquor just like coal by amending the Excise Act without taking it to the Assembly.
He said that BJP will not hesitate to reveal the actual masterminds of central bonded warehouse including the ministers.
While urging the State government to and allow the bonded warehouses to function as they are running now, Marak said, “The entire liquor business is now eyed by certain ministers as central bonded warehouse will allow them to monopolise the liquor business separately in Khasi and Jaintia Hills and Garo Hills. Like coal, major liquor consignments will not be reflected legally in record and the unrecorded consignments will benefit the owners profiting them and of course the ministers,” Marak alleged.