By Avinash Prabhakar
New Delhi, Aug 20 (SocialNews.XYZ) Delhis new liquor policy had promised a total revamp of not only the sales of alcohol, but also its consumption in the capital city.
But the policy was withdrawn within eight months of its rollout amid allegations of corruption and favouritism in granting liquor licence. Delhi is now all set to return to the old excise policy regime from September 1.
The new excise policy that was implemented from November 17 last year has been severely criticised by the Opposition and industry experts alike for many reasons.
Under the new policy, retail licences were given to private bidders for 849 vends across the city which was divided into 32 zones. Decrying the policy, the Opposition had lodged complaints with the Lieutenant Governor besides urging the Central agencies to initiate a probe into it.
Incedentally, 11 out of the 32 zonal liquor retailers have surrendered their licences over unviable business because of lower revenue and unfair competition.
The residents of Delhi are facing shortage of liquor of their choice as there is supply shortage at many outlets across the city.
Only around 460 shops are currently operating in the national capital, which must have around 850 outlets to serve its residents.
Many provisions of the new excise policy like lowering down the age limit for alcohol consumption, bars and restaurants operating till 3 am and home delivery of liquor could not be implemented due to protests by the Opposition.
Because of the protests at several places across the city, the rollout of the scheme was slow, and additionally the vendors were facing losses as they had already grabbed their respective licences through the bidding process.
"The excise policy was and is fundamentally good. It takes a different and progressive look at alcohol sale and consumption befitting a modern metropolis that Delhi is. However, the on ground implementation fell short. It was too slow, in patches and was unable to break away from historical bureaucratic apathy towards trade. Also, the size of the zones was too big," said an industry expert on condition of anonymity.
However, the national capital is set to revert to the old excise policy regime from September 1 for a period of six months till a fresh excise policy is implemented. Under the old excise policy, four government corporations -- DSIIDC, DTTDC, DCCWS, and DSCSC -- will again have major share in running liquor business in the city.
As per sources, the four corporations will be given the responsibility to open liquor stores across the city. Delhi will have 500 liquor stores starting next month to serve the consumers.