With Delhi staring at a major liquor shortage in the coming days with private wine and beer stores going to shut shop from August 1, Kejriwal government is considering one month extension to its new excise policy, officials said.
Earlier in the day, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that Delhi government has withdrawn the new excise policy and directed for selling liquor from government run stores only. "However, pre-empting a chaos due to shutting of private liquor shops and time needed for opening government vends, a proposal is likely to be soon presented before Delhi Cabinet for extension to the 2021-22 policy," a top government source said.
The 468 private liquor shops operating in the city will be shut from August 1 as the term of their licences and that of the new excise policy expire on July 31. Meanwhile, the private liquor stores across the city on Saturday offered heavy discounts and schemes like one plus one free and one plus two free to sell their remaining stock.
With new policy gone, the excise licences issued to hotels, clubs and restaurants having bars, and wholesale operations will also become redundant apart from private run liquor stores in the city. It means, there will be virtually no liquor supply from the wholesalers to the entire hospitality sector and retail vends in the city after July 31, till some alternate arrangements are made by the government, liquor trade experts claimed.
Sisodia said that the Chief Secretary has been asked to ensure that there is no chaos in the city during the transition period before opening of government liquor stores and also for keeping check on sale of illegal alcohol. Officials said that the proposal for extension of excise policy was moved to Sisodia through Chief Secretary. Officials said that the proposal for extension of excise policy was moved to Sisodia through Chief Secretary. "After approval of Delhi Cabinet the proposal will be sent to the LG for his nod. The whole whole process may take around a week and till extension is granted after LG’s approval, there will be shortage in the city," sources said.
No response was available from Delhi government or its Excise department about the arrangements being made to ensure liquor supply in the city after withdrawal of new excise policy. President of National Restaurants Association of India (NRAI) Kabir Suri said that there was "lack of clarity" over the emerging situation and things will be clearer only with further instructions from the Delhi government.
Excise Policy 2021-22 extended twice before for two months each after April, will come to an end on July 31 as Delhi government has decided to go back to old excise regime and run liquor stores for coming six months. The major shift, following a CBI probe recommended by Lt Governor into alleged violations of rules and procedural lapses in implementation of Excise Policy 2021-22, is also feared to disrupt the entire supply chain of liquor in the city. It will be the second time within an year as the city is staring at a liquor shortage.Read More - Delhiites likely to face major liquor shortage from August 1