Delhi Excise dept gears up for opening liquor vends, 300 licenses issued so far

  • | Thursday | 18th August, 2022

New Delhi, Aug 18 (PTI) The Excise department of Delhi government has so far issued 300 retail liquor licenses and started registration of various alcohol brands, as the four government corporations are scheduled to run 500 vends across the city from September 1, officials said on Thursday. The department has also issued wholesale licenses (L-1) to more than 40 applicants and registered nearly 125 liquor brands, said a senior Excise department official. "We are working overtime to ensure a smooth switch over to old excise regime as decided by the government and enable opening of 500 liquor vends by the four corporations from next month. Over 300 retail licenses have been issued so far and the remaining will be issued in the next few days," the official said. The Delhi government last month decided to revert to old excise policy that was prevailing before implementation of Excise Policy 2021-22 from November 17, 2021. The decision came in the wake of Lt Governor VK Saxena recommending a CBI probe into alleged violation of rules and procedural lapses in its implementation. The Excise officials said that as a result of the exit of private zonal licensees from retail sale, the number of liquor vends in Delhi presently number around 250. Under the Excise Policy, retail licenses were issued for 849 vends across the city divided into 32 zones. "With the four corporations taking rein from September 1, the availability of liquor is expected to become normal," they said. Presently many parts of Delhi, including Greater Kailash, CR Park, Chirag Dilli, Subhash Nagar, Daryaganj, Punjabi Bagh, Sarita Vihar, Malka Nagar, GTB Nagar, Chandni Chowk, Shalimar Bagh (South), Shakarpur, Anand Vihar, do not have any liquor vends. The four undertakings of the government - Delhi Tourism and Transport Development Corporation (DTTDC), Delhi State Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (DSIIDC), Delhi Consumer"s Cooperative Wholesale Stores (DCCWS) and Delhi State Civil Supplies Corporation (DSCSC) - will set up the 500 vends by the end of this month, the officials said. Another 200 liquor vends will be opened by December 31, the report said. The DTTDC and DSIIDC will open 150 liquor vends each by August end, while DCCWS and DSCSC will open 100 stores each in the same period, they said. By December, DTTDC and DSIIDC will each open 60 additional stores, and DCCWS and DSCSC will start 40 fresh outlets each, they said. Of these 700 outlets in total, each of the corporations will run five premium vends to sell high-end brands, it said. Two of these five vends are likely to be opened by the month end and the rest by December 31, the officials said. The DTTDC will also handle the airport zone, and DSIIDC will manage areas under Delhi Cantonment and New Delhi Municipal Council. Officials of DTTDC said "dedicated efforts" are being made to chalk out a plan for sale of liquor at government-run liquor vends. "The process of identifying sites and hiring shops to open liquor vends is underway. Many locations have been identified and we expect to complete the process soon. We are hopeful of opening our liquor vends from September 1," a DTTDC official told PTI. In the previous excise regime, the DTTDC used to run 122 liquor shops. The official said the sites which are being preferred are located near market places and many are also near old government liquor vends. Meetings are also being held with stakeholders to finalise modalities about meeting the challenges ahead. "We will ensure that there is no shortage of liquor in the city till the government forms a new policy," the official added. The DSIIDC that ran around 200 vends in old excise regime is also gearing up for rejoining the liquor vends. "We are making the required preparations by contacting old property owners we had liquor vends earlier. Some vends were being run by us in our own premises that are being readied to begin sale from September 1," said the official. According to the officials, efforts were also being made to take over the shops presently rented out to private license holders that will be out of business after August 31. "These shops are larger in size and known among local liquor customers. So, some of them could be taken over after completing the formalities by the corporations concerned," they said. In the current excise policy that will end on August 31, retail licenses were issued to private firms for 32 zones and 849 vends. The retail liquor business under the Excise Policy 2021-22 had failed to stabilise due to issues related to constraints of opening vends in non conforming areas and effects of rebates and schemes on the sale by different licensees. The Delhi government, that had quit the retail liquor business after implementing Excise Policy 2021-22, will be back into running alcohol vends from September 1. A committee has also been formed by the government to prepare a fresh Excise policy expectedly within six months, the officials said. PTI VIT AKM VIT CK

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