New Delhi: Amid a bitter fight being put by the Delhi BJP and the MCDs run by it against the new Excise Policy, Delhi’s Excise Commissioner on Monday directed all L7Z licence liquor shops to stop offering discounts and rebates on alcohol brands across the city – justifying the move by saying that it was resulting in immense overcrowding outside vends and that this was a danger in light of the Covid-19 threat still persisting.
The Excise department issued an order, directing licensees to stop giving concessions, rebates or discounts, and warned of action against shops offering them.
“It has been brought to the notice of the excise department that as a result of discounts being offered by the licensees through their retail vends, instances were reported of large crowds gathering outside the liquor stores leading to law and order problems and causing inconvenience to the local population,” the order issued by the excise commissioner said.
The COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet, and the danger of infection still persists, the order said, adding that the huge crowds are likely to aggravate the situation in Delhi.
The department has also learned that the schemes and discounts offered at the liquor shops were leading to “unhealthy” market practices, it said, adding that these “unhealthy” market practices were “purely for short-term business gains by some of the licensees”. The Excise department went on to say that this was resulting in “distortions of the Market”.
Moreover, the Excise department, in its order, noted that many shops were using social media and hoardings and boards outside their stores to advertise and promote their discounts and stocks. These activities are prohibited as per the Delhi Excise Act of 2009 and the Delhi Excise Rules of 2010.
Significantly, this comes amid a bitter fight being put up by the BJP-run municipal corporations against the Delhi government’s new Excise Policy, which came into effect late last year. As per this policy, the government exited the liquor businesses and handed it over to the private sector — prescribing strict measures to make liquor more safely accessible in the city.
The Delhi government had issued renewed liquor licences to over 800 new private liquor stores in the Capital — all under newly revised Excise zones which made sure there was equitable distribution of stores in the city.
However, ever since the new liquor stores have started reopening, all three MCDs have aggressively protested against them, often shutting several of them down in North, South and East Delhi, under the pretext of being situated near temples, residences or schools and other educational institutes.
The Delhi BJP has also turned up the heat against the policy with the civic polls this year scheduled for April.