A day after keeping the shutters down, retail liquor vends in the city started opening on Tuesday with Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena approving the AAP government's move to extend excise licences of private liquor vends as well as hotels and bars by a month.
Officials said six zonal licencees have opted out of the extension and surrendered their licences, as a result of which, a total of 125 liquor vends will be closed now. This will further bring down the number of 468 liquor vends that were operational before July 31 in Delhi to 343.
Thin crowd was seen outside some of these vends which were opened in the early hours in different parts of the national capital.
"Usually, business is slow in the morning hours. Also, it is Tuesday as well as the month of 'Sawan' during which many people avoid consuming alcohol,' said a liquor store vendor in Laxmi Nagar.
The excise department of the Delhi government had on Monday issued orders for extension of retail and wholesale licences up to August 31, on payment of applicable fee for the period. From September 1, the Excise Policy 2021-22 will seize to exist and the Delhi government revert to old excise regime and run liquor stores in the city through its corporations.
The Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies (CIABC) disapproved the one-month extension by the government.
"Start-stop-start mode or very short-term extensions like a month just disrupt the supply chain, create stock pile ups or stock outs that take time to regain shape and flow," CIABC director general Vinod Giri said.
This is a loss to all stakeholders, be it the government, manufacturers, traders or the consumers, he said and hoped the government will work out a permanent solution very soon.
Meanwhile, some shops selling liquor remained closed.
"Since the shops were closed on Monday because there was no order on the extension till late Sunday night, many workers scattered. Also, stocks had been sold out as our licences had expired on July 31. So, shops will reopen after these things are taken care off," said a zonal licencee.
A few people were seen outside a liquor shop in Janpath area. The vend employees said the licences are being renewed and liquor will be stocked before business resumes normally.
"There is liquor on the shelves, but they are not selling it and asking us to come later," said a customer outside the vend.
The Delhi government has given one-month extension to the retail and wholesale liquor licencees for the transition period so that there is no shortage of liquor in the city or any chaos due to it.
Meanwhile, the Delhi government-run DSIIDC, DTTDC, DCCWS and DSCSC have been activated to open stores from September 1.
Prior to the implementation of Excise Policy 2021-22 on November 17, 2021, the four corporations ran 475 of 864 liquor vends, while rest were being run by private licencees.
The four corporations will run the liquor stores as per the old excise policy regime before the government comes out with a new policy.