Scarce liquor stocks in stores mark day one of return of old excise policy

Photo: PTI

delhi: As the old liquor policy returned to Delhi today, a shortage of liquor stocks marked the takeover of government-run retail outlets in the nation’s capital.

A majority of customers have been disappointed after discovering that their favorite brands are not available in the market. Many of them said that they missed the department stores and the discounts offered in private stores.

According to the Excise Department, the four Delhi government companies, which are once again taking control of the liquor trade in the city, have prepared 300 liquor stores across the city. However, experts said nearly 240 liquor stores would open on day one.

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The city has returned to the old regime of the excise policy, marking today the exit of private players from the retail trade.

Excise officials said some issues are expected to persist in the near term, but alcohol supply and brand availability will improve in the coming days.

Meanwhile, store officials said they showed up for service on time, but the liquor stock had yet to be provided by the government.

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An employee of a liquor vendor said there were fewer brands available and hoped the number would increase in the coming days to meet popular demand.

“We’ve been idle since morning because the shelves are empty. Stock hasn’t arrived yet. Customers are going home empty-handed. We’re hoping stock will arrive tomorrow. It’s a transition period,” said Rajesh Kumar, head of a sale at Vishnu Garden.

Similarly, at a store in Shahdara, Narendra Kumar, the manager, was seen sitting with empty shelves and no customers. “Usually we see commotion in liquor stores, but it’s missing here because of the empty shelves here. Usually crowds gather around a liquor store, that’s how you know ‘there’s a liquor store,’ he said.

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Pushpendra, a customer who came to a sale in Mayur Vihar Phase II to buy alcohol but could not find his favorite brand said, “Private stores were bigger while this is a small store. The government should also allow private stores so people can have a choice,” he said.

Meanwhile, at several sales, part of the liquor stock arrived in the morning.

“We only have five cases of vodka and five cases of whiskey. But we expect more supplies later today and tomorrow. Things will take time to normalize,” said Devendra, head of a store in Mayur Vihar.

Another Laxmi Nagar customer, Rajnish, complained about the lack of discounts or programs offered by government vendors. “Before, I was spending less and having more. Now I will have to spend more to get my daily dose,” he said.

According to the officials, the stockpile of more than 40 lakh bottles of liquor has been organized by the department to meet demand given a slow sale of around 12 lakh bottles a day in July. However, demand had risen to 15 lakh bottles a day by August.

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