No new liquor shops will come up in residential areas of Delhi this year and mohalla sabhas or local committees will be empowered to shut a neighbourhood vend if there are complaints of “nuisance”.
The decision was taken on Wednesday in a Cabinet meeting that cleared the excise policy for financial year 2016-17. The meeting was chaired by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
The government had recently notified 2,972 mohalla sabhas where registered voters will be able to take a call through voting on basic or urgent development works and monitor progress.
“Many people are troubled by liquor vends... Women feel unsafe to venture out as they feel unsafe in such an environment. So we have taken these two decisions,” Kejriwal said at a press conference.
There are over 460 liquor shops in residential neighbourhoods.
The development comes amid a campaign by the Swaraj Abhiyan led by Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan against “proliferation” of liquor vends in the city.
Quoting an RTI reply from Delhi government’s excise department, the group formed by former AAP rebels had claimed that 58 liquor vends had come up in the city since last February.
The government had, however, clarified that only six of the new shops were opened in residential areas while the rest were in shopping malls.
The licensing process for liquor shops by the excise department is broadly divided into three caregories — L6 (government shops), L7 (private shops) and L10 (shops in malls).
“No new liquor shop in L6 and L7 category will be opened this year. Licence will be given only under L10 category,” deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said.
Sisodia said the process to decide shutting a shop will be initiated once 10% voters of a mohalla sabha submit a written complaint in this regard to the concerned department.
Once the written complaint is received, a mohalla sabha will be called whose quorum (minimum presence required) will have to be 15% of the total number of voters of that area including at least 33% women.
On the complaints of ‘nuisance’ at neighbourhood liquor vends, Sisodia said the onus of checking such activities will be on owners and managers of liquor vends and action will be taken against them if there are reports of nuisance in the vicinity of their stores.