The Excise Department will soon introduce flexible timings for liquor shops in the city. The decision comes following the refusal of two state-owned corporations — DTTDC and DSIIDC — to extend the timings of liquor shops from 10 am to 10 pm
Worried about revenue loss due to possible sealing of its shops, the department has been trying different ways to keep up its sales.
"Some of the liquor shops might be sealed after October 31. We want flexible timings so that consumers do not have to run from pillar to post to buy liquor from legal sources," said Excise and Finance Minister AK Walia.
Walia, however, added that the liquor shops will be free to choose the timings between 10 am and 10 pm but will have to remain open for a minimum of 9 hours.
"The timings will be optional rather than mandatory," he said.
At present, the city has a peculiar system where different timings exist for different liquor shops, leaving the consumer confused. Two corporations, DSCSC and DSCCS, which have 150 shops, and the 95 privately owned liquor shops do business from 10 am to 10 pm, while the other two corporations have stuck to the old timings of 1 pm to 10 pm
Chairperson of DSCSC Nita Bali said that early opening of the shops has increased the sales and the response has been good.
"Our sales have increased and the new timings have helped the corporation," Bali told Hindustan Times.
Walia added that the sales figure of the Excise Department suggests that the response to the increased timings has been good in certain areas of outer and east Delhi.
"The liquor shops of Delhi, which are close to the Haryana and UP border, have shown good sales," the minister said.
The liquor shops are facing the heat following the Supreme Court order on the closure of shops in non-conforming areas. Apart from increasing the timings of the shops, the government has reduced the size of liquor shops to conform to rules to ensure that its excise revenue does not fall drastically after sealing commences afresh from November 1.