New Excise Policy: Delhi government allows liquor stores in ‘non-conforming’ areas

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November 18, 2021 10:30 PM

The Delhi excise department in a circular issued on Wednesday specified conditions for opening of liquor shops in 'non-conforming' areas that are largely unauthorised colonies.

The Delhi government has decided to allow opening of liquor vends in ‘non-conforming’ areas like unapproved markets in the city, according to an Excise department document. Meanwhile, most of the 850 privatised liquor stores scheduled to begin retail from November 17, could not open second consecutive day of the new excise regime. They were either being revamped in accordance with the guidelines or were found shut, even as people complained of “supply shortage”.

The Delhi excise department in a circular issued on Wednesday specified conditions for opening of liquor shops in ‘non-conforming’ areas that are largely unauthorised colonies. It stated that the Delhi Cabinet in its meeting on November 5 decided opening of liquor stores in these areas.

The circular issued by the department said that applications for the grant of L-7V licence(authorising retail sale of Indian and foreign liquor) may be considered provided the ‘non-conforming’ area exists in that particular ward in which the licensee plans to open the store.

The circular added that two vends may be permitted to be opened in wards which have ‘non-conforming’ areas.
“The opening of two mandatory vends may be permitted based on an affidavit to be furnished by the L-7Z (meant for retail sale of Indian liquor) licensee that there is a ‘non-conforming’ area in the ward.

“In case any municipal ward is found to be having a ‘conforming’ area, the L-7Z licensee shall be bound to shift his vend to a conforming area within 30 days of the issue of notice by the department,” read the circular. The minimum carpet area of stores in these ‘non-conforming’ areas should be 500 square feet, it said.

The opening of retail vends in non-conforming area is subject to obtaining of requisite approval from the DDA and the concerned civic body by the licensee as applicable according to rules. The department has already communicated the process that needs to be followed by the licensee for grant of L-7V license. The process for grant of L-7V licence in non-conforming areas will be the same.

The zonal retail licensees are requested to promptly apply for the grant of the L-7V license for the vends that come under the municipal wards that have a non-conforming area. The applicant will need to submit a physical copy of the application form along with all documents, the circular said.

Meanwhile, the day two of the new liquor regime in the city witnessed a “shortage of liquor supply” with many people struggling to get their booze.

Under the new policy, 849 swanky mall-like liquor stores with walk-in facilities, where people can pick their choice of liquor, are to be opened. Shops were being revamped in areas like INA, South Extension, Alaknanda near Tara Apartment, and Mayur Vihar, and were not open for business. However, sale of liquor was registered at some shops in areas like Dwarka, Loni, Govind Puri etc.

“I have no stock left as I had received stock of only one whiskey brand on Wednesday evening which is sold out. There is a shortage of supply and it is likely to continue for a few days,” a liquor dealer in Dwarka sector 12 told PTI.
People had to return empty handed from many shops as they weren’t stocked.

“Dealers don’t have stock so people are returning from shops without the liquor. I could purchase alcohol only after visiting 5-6 shops in different areas. The government should have made adequate arrangements,” Gaurav Verma, who had come to buy liquor at shop in Govind Puri, said. Another consumer Alok Kaushik in South Extension shared a similar experience.

“I visited a few shops in South Extension, INA but all are still being revamped. All this work should have been done beforehand,” Kaushik said.

According to government officials, provisional licences have been given to around 350 shops and registration of over 200 brands have been done with 10 wholesale licensees. Wholesale licensees have procured nine lakh litres of liquor of various brands, they said.

The new excise policy allows opening of five super-premium retail stores for whole of Delhi, each with an area of 2500 square feet. Liquor tasting facility will also be developed at these super-premium retail vends.

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