Liquor crisis in Delhi: IGI airport, NDMC areas to keep facing store crunch


The liquor store crisis at Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport and New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) area would continue for a few more days, officials said on August 29. The shortage will go on while Delhi government agencies are scheduled to take over the retail liquor industry in the city starting on September 1.

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In accordance with the city government’s intention to return to the old excise regime with its four agencies running 500 liquor stores in Delhi starting on September 1, they said that over 300 vends have been prepared in various sections of the city and 360 liquor brands have so far leg registered.

From September, a number of new stores will open in areas near Metro stations where traffic is heavy and security is often greater. According to officials, the Excise Department has also awarded licenses for liquor vending machines in six malls, which will start operating on September 1.

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Additionally, in the following days, the department will concentrate on premium vends. These stores, according to them, will have more room and a wide selection of premium liquors. After Delhi Lieutenant Governor (LG) VK Saxena requested a CBI investigation into suspected anomalies in its execution, the government withdrew the Excise Policy 2021–22.

The Delhi Tourism and Transport Development Corporation (DTTDC), the Delhi State Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (DSIIDC), and the opening of liquor vends for the sale of alcohol under its purview were allotted five shops, but the NDMC last week denied those requests.

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“We hope to soon issue licenses for shops in NDMC areas as well as at the IGI airport after the private players exit the retail liquor business on August 30. As of now, no licenses have been issued for these two areas,” said an Excise department officer.

The process of registering liquor brands has also picked up pace and 44 manufacturers out of 60 who had applied have been registered.

“Out of 360 liquor brands registered so far, 230 are foreign brands and the remaining are Indian Manufactured Foreign Liquors,” an official said.

In the entire city, stores have been prepared. Since orders are being placed by the appropriate agencies as soon as they open their stores on September 1, the Excise department has also maintained a supply of alcohol on hand for one week.

“Liquor supply has been hampered in the transition period with around 250 shops being run by private operators at present. We have already readied 300 shops and efforts are on to ensure all the 500 shops are ready from September 1. This will markedly improve supply from the first week of next month,” said a senior Excise department officer.

The 500 vends will be set up starting on September 1 by the four municipal government enterprises, namely the DTTDC, DSIIDC, Delhi Consumerist Cooperative Wholesale Stores, and Delhi State Civil Supplies Corporation. By December 31, 200 more liquor kiosks will be operational, according to officials.

Although some of the new liquor vends may be less in size because the company has also extended its contracts with former property owners, most of them will be required to have a 300 square foot space. To satisfy the demand, the Excise agency has also stocked up on 40 lakh liquor bottles.

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“The demand for liquor in September is expected to remain sluggish due to Shradh and Navratri when people avoid liquor consumption and the present stock is expected to meet the demand as shops open from September 1,,” an official said.

Before November 17, 2021, when the Excise Policy 2021–22 went into effect, the four Delhi government undertakings were in charge of operating liquor vending machines throughout the city. During this time, 32 zone licenses for 849 retail vends were given to private companies. Under the now-repealed Excise policy 2021–2022, the government gave up on the retail liquor industry.

(With PTI inputs)

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