Alcohol shortage looms in India’s Delhi state as private liquor stores shut down

INDIA – India’s national capital Delhi is facing a possible shortage of alcohol supply shortage after the 260 privately-run liquor shops closed down on September 30.

Under its new excise policy, the Delhi government ordered the closure of private liquor stores and has allocated fresh licenses to private firms for 850 shops that will enter the retail business from November 17. 

During the one and half month transition period, only government stores – which number about 460- will remain operational creating fears of alcohol shortage among residents. 

Naresh Goel, president of Delhi Liquor Traders Association, said the 260 private vends closing down from September 30, used to gross around Rs 20 crore in daily sales. 
 
“Closure of these shops will create shortage besides revenue loss to the government. Also, thousands employed there will be rendered jobless,” he said. 

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The Delhi government is however focused on implementing the new policy that is aimed at revolutionizing the consumer experience by replacing the existing liquor vends in the nooks and corners of the city, with swanky liquor stores spread over at least 500 square feet area with walk in facility. 

It stipulates that the new liquor stores will have to be equipped with air-conditioning and CCTV cameras. It also bars selling liquor through grilled shops with people crowding outside on roads and pavements. 
 
The policy also provides for various facilities like wine tasting and a variety of brands for the consumers. 

To address public fears over alcohol shortage, the Delhi government released a statement stating that government-owned liquor shops will make sure they have sufficient stocks to fulfill the demand during this period.  

“The liquor shops have been directed to release payments on time to suppliers so that the supply chains don’t get choked,” the statement read.  

The government expects that sufficient supply at government vends will prevent crowding. 
 
“We expect that in a situation where sufficient supply is maintained, crowding or any other incidents will not take place. We want to reassure the public that they do not need to hoard or rush to stores in this situation as all government-owned shops will continue to function,” its statement said. 

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