Bottoms up! Delhi to open 83 more liquor shops


New Delhi: Time to say cheers! The Delhi government Wednesday decided to open 83 more liquor shops in the city and allow opening of alcohol vends in malls too, but said its excise policy encouraged consumption of mild liquor instead of hard drinks.

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The decision was taken by a Delhi cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit. With these 83 new shops, the number of government controlled liquor shops in Delhi will go up to 590.

“The Delhi cabinet approved the Excise Policy for the year 2009-10, which would encourage mild drinks over hard ones while allowing newer outlets for the sale of liquor,” it was announced after the meeting.

Delhi Finance and Excise Minister A.K. Walia said a new type of licence for wholesale supplies of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) is being introduced where the wholesale supplier would be allowed to open retail shops of his own products registered in Delhi.

“It also permits opening of new vends in malls. A new type of licence for stand-alone restaurants is being introduced where only wine and beer will be served,” Walia added.

The excise minister said that with these new decisions, the government wanted to ensure “safe and good quality liquor to the people and check illicit trading in liquor”.

The revenue collection for the current year is 14 percent higher than last year and with the opening of new outlets, an extra increase in revenue in terms of duties and fees is anticipated, Walia said without giving details.

The minister said the retail prices of country liquor in Delhi had also been revised in the meeting.

“In view of the revenue potential of increase in retail prices, the Delhi cabinet approved increase in rate of quart from Rs.50 to Rs.60, pint from Rs.25 to Rs.30 and nips from Rs.13 to Rs.15. This would help to increase government revenue to about Rs.35 crore (Rs.350 million),” he said.

Of the 83 new shops, 54 will be of IMFL and 29 will sell country liquor. “With this, the total number of IMFL vends in Delhi will be 468 and country liquor vends will be 122,” Walia said.