The Federation of Wine Merchants Association, Karnataka announced a nine-day agitation to press their demand to roll back the hike in Value Added Tax (VAT).
FWMA is protesting with five demands, which include withdrawal of 5.5 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) (as additional excise duty is increased in the budget); seeking uniformity in VAT with other restaurants and bar and restaurants; increase in profit margin from 10 to 20 per cent; abolition of stamp duty on license fee; and abolition of excise and lottery squad of police.
On the contrary, the plan to set up 1,000 MRP wine stores is a counter-attack with an eye on inflicting maximum damage in terms of losses on the private liquor sellers, many of who sell liquor way above the MRP.
Federation Treasurer T.M. Meharwade said wine shops would not procure fresh stock from Monday till March 31 and keep their outlets closed for two days (March 26 and March 27).
He said the increase would result in additional cost to customers and will also affect wine merchants, who are already experiencing declining profit margins due to various taxes. “We are already contributing hugely to the State exchequer. However, the present government is in no mood to redress our grievances,” he said.