The Delhi government has extended excise licenses for liquor vendors till August 31 to avoid shortages. Awaiting LG’s approval.

Amid chaos over liquor shortage in the city, the Delhi government on Sunday decided to extend the existing licenses of liquor shops till August 31, officials said. As many as 468 private liquor shops in Delhi were to shut shop from Monday after their licenses expired on July 31.

However, the liquor shops will open only after the order of the Excise Department after the approval of the LG. “The government has given its cabinet decision to the Lt. Governor to extend the licenses of the existing liquor vendors by one month, till August 31. Orders issued to allow liquor shops to remain open after July 31 after the approval of the LG. will be done.

After the Delhi government realized that the Excise Policy 2021-22 has not been able to achieve the desired objectives of generating more revenue and the fact that its implementation is reportedly under investigation. Violation of rules and regulations, officials said.

He said that government liquor stores will open for six months from September 1 and private shops will continue to operate till then.

“This was needed because the government has already decided to revert to the old excise policy system and run stores through its agencies, a process that could lead to shortages and chaos as it will take days for new shops to open. ” said an official source.

The government on Saturday announced a return to the old excise regime and self-run stores for six months. Under Excise Policy 2021-22, there were 468 retail liquor shops operating in the city whose licenses expired after July 31.

However, many liquor shops in the city closed down after selling stock through discounts and special schemes such as buy one get two free. “There is some more liquor and beer available and people are coming to get what they can get. Even those asking for specific brands have returned empty-handed,” said a manager of a liquor store in Lakshmi Nagar.

The rush was heavy on Saturday but with liquor shops running out of stock, customers have now started looking to neighboring Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon and Faridabad for their quota, a liquor outlet in Delhi’s Sheikh Sarai said. said Vivek, a customer outside the shop. A banker from Mayur Vihar Extension said that he used to get his favorite brands available locally but now the stocks are gone.

“Nearby mall stores are out of stock and almost nothing is left. Now, I will ask friends in Noida, Gurgaon to keep me stocked until the stores here are back to normal, ” They said.

Meanwhile, Delhi government corporations that were in the liquor retail business before the new Excise Policy 2021-22 came into effect in November 2021 have started activating their systems to open liquor shops.

Four corporations—DSIIDC, DTTDC, DCCWS and DSCSC—operated 475 liquor shops out of a total of 864 in Delhi under the old excise policy. There are 389 private stores licensed by individuals. About 90 liquor shops are run on rent by the corporation, a DSIIDC official said. “Several of these rented premises are still vacant where liquor shops can be opened. But the whole process from getting the required license and ordering the stock will take 4-5 days,” he said.

Another corporation, DTTDC, has also approached about 40 owners of private premises where it had earlier run liquor shops. Before the new excise policy 2021, DTTDC was running 122 liquor shops, officials said.

Excise Policy 2021-22, which was extended by the government till July 31, was withdrawn in the backdrop of a CBI probe recommended by the Lt Governor for alleged violation of rules and procedural lapses in its implementation. was The policy was extended twice from April this year, as the government was still working on a revised excise policy for 2022-23 that was yet to receive necessary approvals.

Under the excise policy, the government issued retail licenses for 849 shops distributed in 32 zones across the city. Only 468 were operating at the time, whose licenses expired on July 31 as the government withdrew the policy. There was no clarification on the extension of other excise licenses including those for hotels, clubs and restaurants for liquor and wholesale liquor operations that exist after the withdrawal of the Excise Policy 2021-22.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who also holds the excise portfolio, announced the withdrawal from the excise policy on Saturday, saying that the chief secretary had been directed to ensure that the transition period before opening state-owned liquor shops is complete. There should be no “chaos” in the city during

Sisodia said the chief secretary was also asked to keep a check on the sale of illegal liquor in the city during this time.

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