Capital added 200 liquor shops since September 1; total at 566
The Delhi government’s excise department has expanded the network of government-run liquor stores in the Capital since September 1, when the 2020-21 excise policy came into force and the state opened 350 liquor vends, government data shows
The Delhi government’s excise department has expanded the network of government-run liquor stores in the Capital since September 1, when the 2020-21 excise policy came into force and the state opened 350 liquor vends, government data shows.
At present, the city has 566 liquor stores -- all located in market places with high footfall and areas which are well connected with transportation networks. According to the excise department, Delhi sees the sale of 1.2-1.3 million bottles every day.
The Capital’s retail liquor space is operated by the Delhi government through four separate agencies -- the Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (DSIIDC), Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation (DTTDC), Delhi Consumer’s Cooperative Wholesale Store (DCCWS), and Delhi State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited (DSCSC) -- and currently no private vends operate in the city.
A Delhi government official said the target was to open 700 retail liquor stores by December 2022, but that could not happen due to various challenges like getting suitable places on rent for opening liquor stores in high footfall markets.
In the future, excise officials said, the department may also propose to include private players in Delhi’s liquor space.
The Aam Aadmi Party did not comment on the matter. However, stakeholders in the industry said that such a low number of liquor vends fails to keep up with the city’s demand, and the user’s experience is therefore affected.
Officials of three of the four liquor vend operating agencies said the selection of the place depends on a long checklist, which includes footfalls, parking space, transportation, availability of space in front the store so that the presence of buyers does not lead to traffic snarls, visibility of the stores, rent and most importantly it should not be located within 100 metres of religious places, educational institutions and hospitals. “The site is finalised only when it checks most of the boxes in the checklist. It was one of the reasons which took longer to open liquor stores. More liquor stores are in the pipeline,” at least two officials said.
The opening of more liquor stores will ease the rush at the liquor stores. “Our target has been to ensure availability of safe quality liquor to the buyers and give them a good liquor buying experience. Since only around 350 liquor stores had opened in September, many of them witnessed a high rush of customers. The addition of the new liquor stores has eased the rush and improved buying quality,” said a DTTDC official.
Vinod Giri, director general, Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies (CIABC), said: “In 2020, over 800 liquor stores were functional, so even 566 vends is a very low figure and the target of 700 liquor stores was an unambitious target. The lower number of liquor stores has affected the buyer’s experience. It is also leading to flight of business (to other states), although that is not openly visible. It should open more shops and uplift the shopping experience.”
Delhi’s 2021-22 excise policy aimed to replace a sales-volume based regime with a licence fee one for traders, but the plan came to an abrupt end after lieutenant governor VK Saxena recommended a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into alleged irregularities in the regime. This ultimately resulted in the policy being scrapped prematurely and being replaced by the previous 2020-21 regime, and all private liquor vends were pushed out of the market.