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Strike cripples liquor sale

Cuttack, Jan. 24: A cease work by more than 500 excise officers in the state has disrupted the trade of wholesale liquor.

The strike has paralysed functioning of the Odisha State Beverage Corporation (OSBC), which has monopoly over the wholesale trade of beer and Indian Made Foreign Liquor in the state.

Now, there are fears that the strike could affect the annual excise revenue earnings of the state, which has been targeted at Rs 1,750 crore for the 2012-13 fiscal. An excise officer, on condition of anonymity, said the state was losing excise revenue of around Rs 20 crore every day because of the strike.

The officers went on an indefinite strike on January 22, demanding rectification of anomalies in the pay structure of sub-inspectors of the state excise department. The Odisha Excise Officers Association has decided to continue with the strike and intensify it to a hunger strike if the government continues to remain indifferent to their demand.

“We have decided to go on a hunger strike from January 28. We hope the chief minister intervenes to break the impasse over our demand before that,” Basant Kumar Sethy, president of the association told The Telegraph today.

The cease work followed after a week of protests, which included the excise officers wearing black badges and refraining from carrying out investigations, evoked no reaction from the government. Sethy said the cease work has stalled functioning of the seven warehouses of the OSBC in Bhubaneswar, Balasore, Sambalpur, Cuttack, Berhampur, Raygada and Angul.