Grape growers, wine producers to protest tax hike


Bengaluru: Unhappy over Karnataka governments decision to raise excise duty and additional excise duty on fortified wines, grape growers and wine producers today decided to hold state-wide agitation and also move the court in this regard.

Speaking to reporters here, they said, the purchase of grapes by wine producers will come down, leaving the farmers in a lurch even as they face the burden of not getting the remunerative price for their crops.
Claiming that the government had promised support to the wine industry in the state and had renewed the hopes of grape growers, they said it had issued a notification on June 22 and has given only 7 days to file objections.

The taxation comes into effect from July 1.

"The government has suddenly hiked the tax by as much as 177 per cent without holding a discussion with grape growers and wine producers," Naryanaswamy from the Karnataka Grape Growers Association said.

"As a result of this retrograde decision, the present sale of 60,000 cases of wine annually will come down to 15,000.

This in turn will affect the growers of internationally-renowned Bangalore Blues variety of grapes, the production of which will decline from an annual 9,000 tonnes to 2,250 tonnes," he added.

Terming governments decision as "unilateral", grape growers and wine producers said they have decided to resort to a state-wide agitation and also move the court.

"With the steep hike in tax on wine, the cost per bottle will go up and beverage consumers will be compelled to go back to the consumption of beverages harmful to health," Karnataka Wine Producers Association President P L Venkatarama Reddy said.

The organisations said they have already submitted a memorandum to the Excise Commissioner and Additional Chief Secretary in this regard.

"By this retrograde decision, most wineries in the state will be shut down," Reddy said.




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