With new retail licences coming into force from mid-November, no liquor vends will open in 105 of the 272 municipal wards of Delhi from October 1, officials said on Monday. Under the new excise policy of the city government, retail liquor sale licences have already been allocated to the highest bidders in 32 zones, each having around 10 wards and 27 liquor vends.
The bidding process for the 32 zones, concluded by the excise department in two phases in August and September, earned a revenue of over Rs 8,900 crore to the government.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in the national capital has decided to close down around 260 private liquor vends after September 30.
There are a total of 849 liquor vends in the city, a majority of which are run by three agencies of the Delhi government.
The excise department, in an order issued earlier this month, allowed the Delhi government-run liquor vends to continue with the retail sale of liquor till November 16 after furnishing the requisite licence fee.
The firms that have been given licences in the 32 zones under the new excise policy through bidding will start retail sale from November 17, the order said.
The officials said there are around 80 wards in the city without any liquor vend.
In 26 wards, there are presently only privately-owned liquor vends that will close down from October 1, they added.
"Practically, the 105 wards in the three municipal corporations in the city will have no functional liquor vend after September 30," an officer said.
The closure of privately-owned vends from October 1 may lead to a "temporary shortage" of liquor as only the government-run liquor stores will open for a month and a half prior to November 17, the officials said.
The new excise policy seeks an equitable distribution of liquor stores in the city by segmenting it into 32 zones.
Currently, the spatial distribution of liquor vends is skewed with some wards having as many as 10 liquor vends and others having none, the officials added.