Amid an ongoing investigation by Delhi Police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW) and a face-off between Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena and the Delhi government, the liquor policy row in the capital has taken a fresh turn.
With only two days left for the current excise policy to expire, the Delhi government has decided to go back to the old regime of retail liquor sales for six months.
The Delhi government’s finance department is learned to have issued a circular to excise commissioner Krishna Mohan Uppu — which was also marked to heads of departments concerned, including DSIIDC, DTTDC, and others that used to operate government liquor shops — to immediately provide details of old vends. The excise and finance departments are headed by Deputy CM Manish Sisodia.
Addressing an Important Press Conference | LIVE https://t.co/5dan85coFw— Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) July 30, 2022
The Excise Policy 2021-22, which was extended twice after March 31 for two months each, will expire on July 31. However, the draft policy has yet to be sent to Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena for approval.
The government had in November last year exited the liquor business and handed things over to private vendors, with a stated aim to cut down corruption. The latest move could indicate the government re-entering liquor sales since a large number of private vends have shut down. Discounts and offers such as buy one get one free will also be stopped if the old policy comes into effect.
The departments which operated the government liquor shops under the old excise policy were also asked to provide details such as names of old vends, their location, staff deployed in the previous regime, rented premises owned by the PSU, and present status of premises (vacant or occupied).
Under the new policy, licenses of 849 liquor vends were issued through open bidding to private firms. The city was divided into 32 zones with each having a maximum of 27 vends. Instead of individual licenses, bidding was done zone-wise and each bidder was allowed to bid for a maximum of two zones.
Earlier, the four government corporations ran 475 liquor stores out of a total of 864 in Delhi. The private stores, licenses held by individuals, numbered 389.
The Delhi lieutenant governor earlier this month recommended a CBI probe into alleged violation of rules and procedural lapses in the implementation of the excise policy. He also directed the Delhi chief secretary for an inquiry into the role of excise department officials in the alleged irregularities as well as complaints of cartelization in issuing of retail liquor licenses through bidding.
Between June 5 and July 18, 9 zonal licensees surrendered their licenses, leading to the closure of 176 shops, and more zones are filing applications to do the same. The excise department will now create a proposal/detailed note and send it to the Cabinet and L-G for approval. A source from the L-G’s office said they have not received any information on the government’s plan to bring back the old policy.
Stay connected with us on social media platforms for instant updates click here to join our Twitter, & Facebook
Leave a Reply