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In Delhi, liquor shortage likely from Monday as new excise policy rolled back

Updated on Jul 30, 2022 12:17 PM IST

The decision also means 468 private liquor shops will shut from Monday, creating a major crisis in the availability of liquor in the national capital.

With only two days left for the current excise policy to expire, the Delhi government decided to go back to the old regime of retail liquor sales for six months. (HT file photo)
By | Written by Aniruddha Dhar, New Delhi

Only government-run liquor shops will operate from Monday, August 1, till the time a new excise policy is put in place, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia on Saturday said amid a row over the new excise duty with the Centre.

“We have withdrawn new excise policy and directed opening government liquor stores. I have directed the chief secretary to ensure no chaos during the transition period,” Sisodia at a press conference.

The decision also means 468 private liquor shops will shut from Monday, creating a major crisis in the availability of liquor in the national capital.

"The Centre is using ED and CBI to warn their private players so that the new excise policy fails. They want to reduce liquor in Delhi and create a shortage,” Sisodia alleged while defending the new policy on liquor.

Sisodia also alleged that like Gujarat, the BJP wants to promote the sale of spurious, off-duty liquor by threatening Delhi's shop-owners and officers.

“The Delhi government had to come out with a new excise policy. Before this policy, government shops used to sell liquor. Private shops also existed but they were given to relatives,” Sisodia added.

The Delhi government's move comes amid an ongoing investigation by Delhi Police's Economic Offences Wing (EOW) and a face-off between lieutenant governor VK Saxena.

With only two days left for the current excise policy to expire, the Delhi government has decided to go back to the old regime of retail liquor sales for six months.

The Excise Policy 2021-22, which was extended twice after March 31 for two months each, will expire on July 31.

The strained ties between the Centre and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi worsened last week when Saxena recommended a CBI probe into the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22, holding Sisodia, in-charge of the excise department, accountable.

Right after this move, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal lashed out at the Centre, saying the L-G was making "false allegations" and leaders of the AAP were "not afraid of jail".

The L-G's move follows a report submitted by chief secretary Naresh Kumar on the matter. The report, which officials said was submitted on July 8, accuses Sisodia of providing undue benefits to liquor vend licencees in lieu of "kickbacks" and "commissions" and the money being used in the recent Punjab elections.

(With inputs from agencies)

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