The city’s liquor traders have requested the state government that they should be allowed to run their vends even beyond August 31, when their licenses under the current excise policy will expire, according to officials aware of the matter. From September 1, the government will switch to the old excise regime, and monopolize the sale and distribution of liquor in the city.
The traders made the suggestion in a meeting with Delhi chief secretary Naresh Kumar at the Delhi Secretariat on Thursday evening, which came in the backdrop of uncertainty over the continuation of private vends.
During the one-hour-long meeting, the chief secretary sought suggestions and ideas for framing the new policy, officials said.
A trader, who runs multiple liquor stores in the Capital, said that a couple of licensees suggested to the government that it should not push private players out of the business. “The government agencies are planning to open 500 stores by August 31, but they may not be able to do so due to various constraints such as availability of space. We have suggested that the existing private liquor stores should also be permitted to operate under the old policy by asking them to obtain fresh licenses on the conditions to be fixed by the Delhi government. Towards the end of the year, the demand for liquor rises due to festivals, and the government liquor stores may not be able to meet the demand,” the trader said, requesting not to be named.
“Private shops existed under the old regime,” the trader said.
The chief secretary did not respond to requests for a comment. However, a senior official said that liquor traders gave several suggestions for the formulation of the new excise policy.
Another trader who attended the meeting said those who won bids for zonal licenses have suffered, and the government should be “sensitive to their losses”.
“Zonal licensees who abide by the laws and followed all rules should not be allowed to suffer. Consumers will benefit the most if the government permits the private stores to operate and allows room for competition. It may also lead to loss of revenue to the government,” the second trader said.
An official said the government was yet to take a call on whether private vendors will be allowed to operate under the old regime.
A government spokesperson did not respond to queries seeking comment..