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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Delhi: Empty shelves in liquor shops across city as preparations for new policy kick in

Delhi: All private liquor/alcohol shops will remain shut from October 1 to November 16 and after that, the Delhi government will exit the liquor business entirely.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: September 23, 2021 3:39:20 pm
delhi liquor stores covidAfter November 16, liquor stores will be run exclusively by private entities and the government will exit the business completely. (File)

Shelves in privately run alcohol vends across the city will not be restocked till November, as Delhi moved to adopt the new liquor policy, passed earlier this year.

Several people who have visited liquor stores over the past week have complained of ill-stocked shelves and many missing liquor brands.

Umesh Saxena, who has an L10 license and operated a liquor store in Mayur Vihar, said they have stopped purchasing new stock as they have been given instructions that they have to exhaust their stock by the end of September, after which their shops have to be closed.

Another shopkeeper said that they are only buying enough stock to last them till the end of September. Even then, the more expensive brands are out as they are slow to sell. “We should at least be permitted to run the shops till November 14, after which the policy kicks in,” the shopkeeper, who did not want to be named, said.

As per the policy, fresh bidding was carried out to take over the liquor vends across the city. This means several people who earlier had licenses to run liquor vends have not won the bid this time around and will have to exit the business. Even if they have won the bid, they will not be operating between October 1 and November 16. During this period, only government liquor shops will function.

There are 849 liquor stores in Delhi, of which 276 are privately-run. The rest are operated by Delhi government’s agencies.

“The licenses of private vends will expire on September 30, and will not be renewed, several people have not managed to win the bid again as the one-time license fee has been increased several times over. In this scenario, most vends are not restocking as they do not have a long window to sell. Even if existing dealers have won bids, they will not buy new stock as they will not be allowed to reopen till November 17,” said a senior Delhi government official.

The government liquor vends, meanwhile, will breathe their last on November 17. The government has said that it should not be in the business of selling liquor, and decided to exit the market completely.

“The government vends are slightly better stocked than the private ones at this point but since they too are exiting the business, the next month and a half will be a little challenging for consumers. Once the new stores are open, things will improve for sure,” the official said.

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