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125 More Liquor Shops Shuttered in Delhi, Licensees Blame Losses and 'Policy Flip-Flop'

By: News Desk

News18.com

Last Updated: August 03, 2022, 13:32 IST

New Delhi, India

The Delhi Government will revert back to its old excise regime and run liquor stores in the city through its corporations September 1 onwards. (File rep image: Reuters)

The Delhi Government will revert back to its old excise regime and run liquor stores in the city through its corporations September 1 onwards. (File rep image: Reuters)

Despite the order late on Monday night, giving a one-month extension of retail and wholesale licenses to shops, six zonal licensees opted out of the extension

As many as 125 liquor shops closed down in Delhi on Wednesday as six zonal licensees surrendered their licenses. Shops on Monday shuttered as their licenses expired on 31 July and despite the order late on Monday night, giving a one-month extension of retail and wholesale licenses to shops, the six licensees opted out of the extension. The closure brings down the number of 468 liquor vends that were operational before July 31 in Delhi to 343.

The Delhi Government will revert back to its old excise regime and run liquor stores in the city through its corporations September 1 onwards. 

The six surrendered zonal licenses mean that there will be no liquor shops in areas like Anand Vihar, Shakarpur, Jhilmil, Paharganj, Rohini E, Chandni Chowk, Sarita Vihar, Najafgarh, Greater Kaliash, and Daryaganj, among others. 

Licensees blamed financial unviability and ‘policy flip-flop’ for opting out of the extension. They failed to make a decent profit after paying the huge excise fee, a report by Times of India said. The fee, between Rs 230 crores and Rs 340 crores annually was paid in monthly installments through a bidding system to get permits.

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“We were hoping to do good business and that’s why we participated in the bidding process and agreed on a huge excise fee for each zone. But we could not open all our shops due to issues related to non-conforming areas and amid stiff resistance from the public in certain areas, which badly impacted our business," a senior executive of one of the zonal licensees told TOI.

Another dealer added that had they been allowed to open shops in non-conforming areas, they would’ve earned more.

Under the excise policy, Delhi has been divided into 32 pre-defined zones, with each having a maximum of 27 shops. The government had extended the policy twice since March 31 before deciding to revert back to the old policy.

10 zonal licenses were surrendered since March 31. With six more zonal licenses being surrendered, half of the 32 zones will have no liquor shops during the one month transition period in August.

“This one month extension is hardly any consolation for us. There is no point investing such huge sums in the form of excise fee and procuring stocks when we know we have to wrap up our business forever by August 31. We will end up making more losses," a zonal licensee said.

As shops in Delhi shuttered on Monday and representatives of the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) “business disruptions" on the industry trying to recover from the pandemic, shops in Noida saw a surge in customers.

The Delhi government-run Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (DSIIDC), Delho Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation (DTTDC), Delhi Consumer’s Cooperative Wholesale Store (DCCWS) and Delhi State Civil Supplies Corporation (DSCSC) have been activated to open stores from September 1. Prior to the implementation of Excise Policy 2021-22 on November 17, 2021, the corporations ran 475 of 864 liquor vends, while the rest were run by private licensees.

The four corporations will run liquor stores as per the old excise policy before the government releases a new policy.

(With PTI inputs)

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first published:August 03, 2022, 13:28 IST
last updated:August 03, 2022, 13:32 IST