Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, May 12:
The Odisha High Court today deferred the hearing of a case filed by five beer manufacturers against the Odisha government’s new excise policy that seeks to reduce the offer price of beer by 20%, till tomorrow.
It may be mentioned that Excise minister Damodar Rout had hinted at revising the cut in offer price – the price at which beer manufacturers supply the stuff to the state-owned Odisha Sstate Beverages Corporation (OSBC) – from 20 per cent to 10 per cent last week.
Major beer manufacturers have refused to sign the mandatory agreement with the OSBC in protest against the slash in the offer price, leading to a beer crisis in the state and sharp decline in revenue for the Excise department.
The Excise minister’s proposal for a downward revision in the offer price is now awaiting the approval of the chief minister.
The OSBC had supplied only 2.35 lakh cases of beer in April this year to the licensed retailers against the demand of 12.49 lakh cases.
The wine merchants’ association last Monday had met the excise secretary and discussed the acute shortage of the beer as big companies including United Breweries, SAB Miller India and Carlsberg India Pvt Ltd, which supply 70 per cent of beer to Odisha, had declined to sign the annual agreement with the OSBC.