Late liquor baron Ponty Chadha was known for his proximity to former Uttar Pradesh chief minster Mayawati. But one-and-a-half years after his death, his son Monty, who is now heading the family business, is as close to the Samajwadi Party government headed by Akhilesh Yadav.
In an almost repeat of the last regime's benevolence, the present UP government has handed over the reins of the wholesale liquor business of the country's most populous state and the retail vends of 18 districts of western UP to the Ponty Chadha group and that too for the next two years instead of one year, as has been the norm till now.
The state cabinet on Tuesday formally put its stamp of approval on the state's liquor policy for two years from 2014 -15 to 15-16.
According to the policy, licence and processing fees for renewal of vends selling country liquor, IMFL and beer will go up substantially, thereby pushing up the retail prices of countrymade liquor, IMFL and beer by 5-10% in UP for the next two years.
"The basic licence fee for countrymade liquor will go up by R1 per bulk litre for both years, while the licence fees and service duty for IMFL vends will go up by 15% each for both the years," said Rahul Bhatnagar, principal secretary (excise).