J&K government conducted transparent online bidding for wine shops across various locations in the UT, which has yielded remarkable outcome. The Excise Department conducted the online auction while keeping the identity of the bidder a secret and ensuring anonymous participation. This enabled bidders to participate without fear from any pressure group and also be rest assured of a fair auction.
According to the data released by the Excise Department, 228 locations were put to auction in areas where liquor shops were already existing taking the public sentiment into account. More than 800 bidders participated in the auction. To further assist the participating bidders, the Excise Department even established a helpline, which received more than 600 calls.
The auction of 170 locations in J&K started on April 15 while the remaining 58 locations went for auction the next day. Each location was put to auction for 72 hours, which as per the ED received overwhelming response.
Generous bidding by participants
The Excise Department witnessed a 15 times increase in the amount paid by licensees as compared to previously. The auction amount quoted for license fee by the bidders is around Rs 140 crore against Rs10 crore paid by the licensees earlier. This means, the cost shot up to Rs. 60 lakh per vend as against Rs 4 lakh per vend, which marked nearly 15x increase.
It was revealed that more than 20 existing licensees retained their shop by bidding the highest amount for the location. The statistics showed two participants quoted more than Rs 3 crore while four participants quoted over Rs 2 crore and 34 participants quoted more than Rs 1 crore. Also, a whopping 51 participants quoted more than Rs 50 lakhs during the online auction. This is by domiciles of J&K and to ensure fair auction process, only one vend is to be allotted to one individual.