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Excise dept bets big on liquor sales at F1
September, 13th 2011

The Indian Grand Prix promises to be one grand party for the Greater Noida excise department. As end of October spells Formula-1 action on the newly built Buddha International Circuit, the authorities hope to make big bucks out of liquor sales. The department has predicted over 3 lakh bottles of beer, and an equal number of foreign-made liquor bottles will be guzzled during the three-day event, generating a tax turnover of over Rs. 6 crore.

Target achievement

The racing gala, expected to be attended by over 1.5 lakh fans of the sport, will help the district's excise branch achieve high targets in no time, said senior officials. The government dictated target for the year is Rs. 287 crore, out of which the department had achieved sales of Rs. 113 cr till last month. "These three days would easily help us bridge the rest. It will be a revenue generator like never before," says Mahinder Pal Singh, district excise officer. The officials predict that both Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL) and foreign liquor will be a hit with the spectators, which will be a mix of Indians as well as foreign nationals.

Excise officials foresee a minimum tax gain of Rs. 5.20 crore from foreign liquor which will be consumed during the affair, and Rs. 96,00,000 from beer alone. Distributors say in normal course, only around 3.5 lakh bottles of foreign liquor are sold in a month and not more than 8 lakh bottles of beer in 30 days.

Airlines too cash in

And, business is big not just on the booze front. Airfares to the Capital on the event dates - Oct 28-30 - have witnessed an unprecedented hike of upto 200%, with Mumbai to Delhi flights going up to Rs. 15000- 22,000 from the usual Rs6-7,000. Hotels, inns and lodges in and around the area are also all booked out, most on double the usual cost, even though the event is still a month and a half away. There are about 170 hotel rooms in the entire Noida-Greater Noida district, so hotels in Delhi that are closer to these townships are also raising their fee to mint the most from the opportunity. This is also due to the fact that Greater Noida lacks a five-star, and houses only one four-star hotels. Interestingly, it is the locals who are expected to spend the most during the high intensity event, with sources in the Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority (GNIDA) reporting that only about 450 overseas visitors, including foreign journalists, have recorded their confirmed attendance
so far.

Sold out!

The visitor capacity of the circuit itself is 96,636. Therefore, authorities are busy buckling up to put forth their best step in terms of security and order. The tickets, which are fast selling out, cost Rs. 6,000 to 35,000. The cheapest, priced at Rs. 2,500, were sold out within hours after booking opened. Each of these is valid for all three days of the event. But, the high-profile after parties cost extra. An average table at one of these star-studded dos, being organised by the official F1 party partner Amber Lounge at Hotel Claridges in Surajkund, costs Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 10 lakh.

Five-layer security for VVIPs

Also, there's a buzz about foreign agencies collaborating with Indian agencies to work out the security modalities at the venue. Last week, a meeting was held to work out security arrangements. It was decided there that the foreign security agencies, UP Police, Delhi Police and the organisers will jointly manage the multi-layer security set-up. In fact, the layers will start from the Delhi-Noida border and stretch to Dankaur, the venue. "General security will be in three tiers while security for VIPs and VVIPs will have five layers," Gautam Budha Nagar SSP Jyoti Narayan said. The UP Police brass even went on to say that security for this event will be way better than the Commonwealth Games 2010. About 1,600 policemen, including 200 traffic policemen, will be deployed apart from five companies of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC).

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