NEW DELHI, Aug 30: Liquor store crunch at the Indira Gandhi International Airport and NDMC areas will continue for some more days even as Delhi Government agencies are slated to take over the retail liquor business in the city from September 1, officials said.
They said over 300 vends have been readied in various parts of the city and 360 liquor brands have registered so far in consonance with the city government’s decision to go back to the old excise regime with its four agencies running 500 liquor in Delhi from September 1.
Several new shops opening from next month will be located near Metro stations where the footfall is high and safety measures are relatively better. The Excise Department has also issued licenses for liquor vends in six malls which will open from September 1, the officials said on Monday.
Also, the department will focus on premium vends in the coming days. These shops will have larger space and a variety of liquors of top brands, they said.
The Excise Policy 2021-22 was withdrawn by the government after Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena recommended a CBI probe into alleged irregularities in its implementation.
The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) last week rejected a proposal for the allotment of five shops to Delhi government-run Delhi Tourism and Transport Development Corporation (DTTDC), Delhi State Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (DSIIDC) and for opening liquor vends for the sale of liquor under its jurisdiction.
“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.
District-level teams headed by Sub-Divisional Magistrates have started inspecting the new shops that have been readied in various parts of the city. The Excise department has also maintained a liquor stock of one week as orders are being placed by the agencies concerned as they open shops from September 1.
“Liquor supply has been hampered in the transition period with around 250 shops being run by private operators at present. We have already read 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,” a senior Excise department officer said.
The four undertakings of the city government – the Delhi Tourism and Transport Development Corporation, Delhi State Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation, Delhi Consumerist Cooperative Wholesale Stores and Delhi State Civil Supplies Corporation – will set up the 500 vends from September 1, the officials said.
Another 200 liquor vends will be opened by December 31, officials said.
Most of the new liquor vends will have a mandatory 300 square feet space although some may be smaller in size as the corporation has also renewed their contracts with old property owners.
The Excise Department has also stocked up 40 lakh liquor bottles to meet the demand.
“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. (PTI)
The four Delhi Government undertakings used to run liquor vends across the city before November 17, 2021, when the Excise Policy 2021-22 came into force, in which 32 zonal licenses for 849 retail vends were issued to private companies. (PTI)
The Government had quit the retail liquor business under the now-reloaded Excise policy 2021-22. (PTI)