Delhi government may relax the norm for setting up labs at warehouses of the wholesalers for testing samples of alcohol to check mixing of any spurious item, in its Excise Policy 2022-23, officials said.
The Excise Policy being framed by the government for 2022-23 is likely to allow a wholesale licensee (L-1) to set up just one lab, instead of a lab at each warehouse owned by the licensee, they said.
The move comes after the wholesale licensees represented to the excise department that establishing of laboratory at each bonded warehouse is a costly affair, said an official document.
Approximately Rs 20-30 lakh, which includes expenses on staff salary and testing material, is needed to set up a fully equipped lab as per BIS standards, the wholesalers told the excise department.
The L-1 licence being a non-renewable one, there is no guarantee that the same entity will be granted L-1 licence in the next policy year, the document noted.
The issue was taken up during a meeting of group of ministers (GoM) last month to recommend changes in the Excise Policy 2021-22 that stipulated the wholesale licensees to set up labs at all warehouses operated by them.
"It was proposed that instead of establishment of lab at each bonded warehouse, each L-1 licensee must have at least one laboratory irrespective of the number of bonded warehouses operated through the licence, the document said.
The recommendations of the GoM for the Excise Policy 2022-23 will be implemented from June 1, after approval by the Lt Governor.
Last year, the excise department had asked all the wholesale licensees to start testing liquor received from manufacturers and upload reports on a portal along with undertaking that there is no spurious alcohol.
However, the provision of setting up lab could not gather speed as the Excise Policy came into effect late.
The policy was implemented with opening of retail vends by private operators from November 17, 2021.
The policy had mandated that each wholesale licensee was required to set up an approved laboratory at its warehouses to check the presence of spurious liquor in each batch of liquor received from the manufacturers.
According to the policy, the wholesalers have to upload test report for each batch of alcohol received from manufacturers and give an undertaking that the liquor is not spurious.
The policy further stipulated constitution of special teams for sample collection from warehouses, retail vends, hotels, clubs and restaurants across all brands.Any L-1 licence holder or retail shop owner found in possession of spurious liquor will lose their licence and will be subject to criminal proceedings as prescribed under law, it stated.