Worksheet leak behind Bevco's flip-flop on FMFL price list

Thiruvananthapuram: In an interesting turn of events, the price of Foreign-Made Foreign Liquor (FMFL) being sold through the outlets of the Kerala State Beverages Corporation (Bevco) and Consumerfed in the State was reversed in a few hours soon after it was hiked.

State Excise Minister M V Govindan's office confirmed the withdrawal of the revised price.

The new price list had come out on Monday afternoon, but it was froze later in the evening. The U-turn had to be taken as the new price list reached various outlets without the knowledge of Bevco CMD Yogesh Gupta.

(The Kerala State Co-operative Consumers' Federation Ltd is often referred to as the Consumerfed.)

How it happened

It was on Monday afternoon that the so-called revised price list had reached the outlets. It seems that the leak of the worksheet, containing profit patterns of FMFL brands in comparison with various tax slabs before and after the hike, prepared by the IT wing of Bevco, had led to the fiasco. Assuming this to be a revised price list, most of the outlets started charging the new rate after entering new price details in computers.

The CMD said that a probe would be initiated on how this worksheet reached the outlets.

On an average, there was an increase of Rs 450 and above for each brand. The price of Teacher's Whisky rose to Rs 3,250 from Rs 2,560. God's Own Brandy was charged Rs 2,270 though it was available for Rs 1,800 earlier. Chivas Regal Whisky's price jumped to Rs 6,870 from Rs 5440.

Black Label Whisky became very costly with the new rate going from Rs 6,110 to Rs 4830. Glengarry Whisky cost Rs 520 more from the earlier rate of Rs 1,990. One had to cough up Rs.1,030 more to get Absolute Whisky whereas its earlier price was Rs 2,220.

The total annual turnover of the Bevco from the sales of Indian-Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) is estimated to be Rs 15,000 whereas FMFL fetches only a sale of Rs 30 crore.

The government had given tax reduction for FMFL products as part of popularising these brands. Terming this as biased, the IMFL companies had earlier approached the High Court and the government.

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