Even as the AAP government granted a one-month extension of the current liquor excise policy, clubs, hotels and restaurants in Delhi did not serve alcohols as the worry about the future of their liquor licenses could be seen clearly. The Delhi government on Sunday decided to extend the retail licenses for one month, after they expired on July 31. The Excise department will issue an order to this effect after Lt Governor V K Saxena’s nod to the Delhi Cabinet decision.
As per reports, the national capital saw its bars and liquor vends as the Arvind Kejriwal-led governmennt wanted to extend the Excise Policy (2021–22) from August 1 to 31 but Lieutenant Governor (LG) Vinai Kumar Saxena had not given is green signal yet. It would be illegal to sell liquor in the national capital now as the expiry date of the policy was July 31 and no extension was authorised.
However, as per officials quoted by Livemint, LG Saxena is yet to review and authorise the file. He is supposed to do it today, that is August 1. The license will not be renewed as long as Saxena does not allow the AAP government to carry out the order in practice.
Rahul Singh, the founder of Beer Cafe, told Livemint that if the deadline was not extended before August 1, Delhi would totally ban on-site alcohol sales. If that happens, restaurants, taverns, bars, and clubs would have to stop supplying alcohol and chaos will be created as everyone including the customers and businesses apart from the government.
With liquor stores closed, employees loitered around talking to customers waiting eagerly outside vends to reopen, news agency PTI reported. “We have no idea when the order will come. Even if it comes today, there is no stuff in the shop to sell,” said a liquor vend employee near ITO.
A zonal license holder said there was still uncertainty as the order by Excise department was delayed. “Since the government made the announcement of reverting to old excise policy regime, we were in the process of wrapping up business. “We are the worst sufferers as despite investing huge amount, we are forced to quit retail sale of liquor within months,” he said.
The Excise department of Delhi government, in an order issued on Saturday, extended the licences of over 250 country liquor shops in the city. “The extension is subject to payment of pro-rata fee for the extension period,” said the order.
Tenders for country liquor licence were floated twice in recent months. On the first occasion, the tender failed to attract adequate number of bidders while the excise department scrapped it the second time after finding out that bidders were “pooling” to keep the bids low, they added.
With inputs from News18