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Delhi govt plans to open premium liquor vends in posh areas, malls, big markets

Even as it reverts to the old excise regime — which means all private vends will shut down — the Delhi government has planned to open five premium vends each under its four departments in upscale areas, malls and big markets where people can buy imported premium liquor, said officials.

The government scrapped its 2021-22 excise policy last week amid the ongoing standoff with the L-G — who has recommended a CBI to prove allegations of corruption in the policy’s implementation — and has decided to bring back the old policy from September 1. In the interim, it has extended licences of private vends till August 31.

According to officials, the government has targeted to open two premium vends by August 31 and three more by the year end under the four departments — DSIIDC, DTTDC, DCCWS, DSCSC – which used to operate government liquor shops. This is aimed to maximise sale to prevent black marketing and smuggling from neighbouring states.

“Under the old policy, imported brands were sold by private vends while government shops largely dealt with country liquor and some Indian-made foreign liquor. Now, as the government has decided to shut these (private) vends, there is a plan to open premium vends so people can walk in and buy without rush,” said an official.

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However, the government has reduced size of shops — they will function out of a 300-500 sq ft space. Under the new excise policy, shops had occupied a 500 sq ft space.

The excise department has also initiated the process to return to the old regime and has issued terms and conditions for opening L-6 vends under the four departments to apply for the opening of new retail vends.

The department, along with Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar, held a meeting with L-1/ L-1 F licensees and stakeholders and discussed the matter.

Sources said the government has asked manufacturers and wholesale vends to start ordering stock for government liquor shops from August 26-27. Shops that are currently operating have been told to order stock only till August 20 so the transition takes place seamlessly.

“Government liquor vend premises should be in a pucca building with a minimum floor area of 300 sq ft and should be located in local shopping centre (LSC)/ commercial premises. The proposed vend premises shall be inspected by the site inspection committee/team deputed by the licensing authority, comprising excise officers who shall ascertain the suitability of the proposed premises for grant of licence. Further, no retail vend of Indian liquor, foreign liquor or country liquor will be located within 100 metres from non-conforming areas,” read the guidelines.
The excise department will work on the new excise policy for the year 2023-24.