Residents of the national capital are struggling to find alcohol across the city, as Delhi’s new liquor policy sets in.
The Delhi government has directed all state-run alcohol outlets to maintain sufficient stocks to deal with alcohol shortage as all private liquor shops are set to wind up their business by September 30.
What is the new excise policy?
Under the New Excise Policy, around 260 privately-run liquor vends in the city will close down on September 30. Of the total around 850 liquor shops in Delhi, only those operated by Delhi government agencies will continue retail sale till November 16.
New players who have got licences through open bidding will enter the market and operate the 850 vends from November 17.
Not enough alcohol for people
People of Delhi are facing a real crisis as they have started experiencing the shortage as their favourite liquor brands are missing owing to the winding up of business by privately-run liquor shops.
At one of the private liquor shops on Vikas Marg in east Delhi, several liquor lovers were seen returning empty handed. They said they were told whisky or vodka brands were not available there.
“Our owner has asked us to sell whatever stock is there and lock the shop. We have already sold all other liquors and now only beer is left,” said a worker managing the sales counter of the vendor.
A senior Excise department officer said steps are being taken to ensure that there is no shortage of liquor by strengthening retail sales from government vends.
“It’s a transition period of one and a half months after which things will become normal. We have already asked the government agencies running liquor stores up to November 16 to maintain stock according to demand,” the officer told news agency PTI.
Naresh Goel, president Delhi Liquor Traders Association, said the private liquor vends in some areas like Saket have already shut their shop after selling out the remaining stocks.
“Shortage is bound to occur as private vends used to be better stocked. Closure of all the private shops in the city in one go will create shortage as government shops cannot handle the demand as they are also in the process of winding up before November 17,” Goel said.
Liquor shops dry up
Amit Sharma, president of Delhi Liquor Sales Association, which represents workers at the liquor stores in the city, claimed around 3,000 people will be out of jobs after private stores close down.
With the closure of private vends on September 30, there will be no retail liquor sale in 26 of the 272 municipal wards. Also, there are no liquor vends in 80 wards.
The New Excise Policy of Delhi government seeks to ensure equitable distribution of liquor vends across the city by dividing it into 32 zones.
Each zone covering 8-10 wards will have nearly 27 liquor vends that will provide customers walk-in experience and a choice of their preferred brands.