With mounting losses, BEVCO may have to hike liquor prices soon

Representational image.

Thiruvananthapuram: Liquor prices in Kerala are set to go up soon. Excise Minister MV Govindan confirmed that a price hike is under consideration.

The hike will be effected only after a policy decision on the matter, the minister announced.

The spike in spirit price in view of its short supply and the mounting losses of the BEVCO have forced the State Government to consider increasing liquor prices. Liquor manufacturers have been urging BEVCO to raise the prices so that they get a higher margin. In their latest demand they have reportedly sought a hike of at least 20% over the current prices.

The Kerala State Beverages Corporation or BEVCO is the sole distributor and retailer of liquor in the whole of Kerala.

Liquor manufacture in government distilleries too has been severely hit by the rising prices of spirit, Govindan revealed while citing the case of Jawan rum production by a state-government entity.

The price of rectified spirit/ethyl alcohol has gone up from Rs 55 to Rs 75. The spike has hit even the production of Jawan rum made by Thiruvalla-based Travancore Sugars And Chemicals.

As reported earlier, many BEVCO outlets have low stock of various liquor brands as production has been affected of late. The shortage of products sold in quarter bottles are more pronounced than that of larger ones.

The BEVCO posted a loss of Rs 1,608.17 crore in revenue during 2020-21, the Bureau of Public Enterprises had reported recently.

BEVCO, one of the major revenue sources of the State government, had ranked second in terms of profit during the year-ago period, but the slide in its revenue pulled it down to the third slot in the list of loss-making public sector units (PSUs) in Kerala, Onmanorama had reported earlier.

The report by the Bureau of Public Enterprises, tabled in the Assembly, attributed the loss of revenue to COVID-19, which forced BEVCO to close its outlets. The Corporation had been posting increasing revenues annually till the epidemic broke out.

Incidentally, BEVCO reported a loss of Rs 1,608.17 crore after it had posted a profit of Rs 180 crore in the year-ago period. Its revenue from sales nosedived to Rs 2,527.69 crore from Rs 4,134.93 crore, the Bureau report revealed.

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