Delhi excise policy: Dry days reduced from 21 to 3 ‘without due consultation’

New Delhi, Aug 7 (IANS)
The Excise Department reduced the number of dry days from 21 days in calendar year 2021 to 3 days in 2022 without seeking approval of the Council of Ministers and opinion of the Delhi Lt. Governor, said a source at the LG office on Sunday, referring to a report.
The source said: “… the report says that it has been observed from the file that in December 2015 under the old excise policy regime, the then Assistant Commissioner of the Excise Department proposed on 04.12.2015 (while proposing the number of dry days for the year) to reduce the number of dry days to 3 from 23 days on the basis of what is followed by the neighbouring states.
“The then Excise Commissioner on 04.12.2015 recorded in his notes that all nearby states had already declared only 3 dry days in a year, and as per information collected from the Excise Intelligence Bureau, smuggling of liquor increases during dry days, and the liquor sale policy of Delhi should have consonance with neighbouring states and hence, the policy of so many dry days (23 dry days in the year 2015) may be reviewed,” he said while referring to the Vigilance report.
“The then Principal Secretary (Finance) on 09.12.2015 recorded that concerns raised by the Excise Commissioner are valid and proposed to hold a meeting so that number of dry days is pruned. However, the Deputy CM over-ruled the proposal of then Pr. Secretary (Finance) to hold a meeting without assigning any reason and directed on 11.12.2015 to issue the notification for number of dry days for the year 2016,” mentions the report as per the source.
“It was observed that while the proposal for reduction on number of dry days was rejected by the Deputy Chief Minister on 11.12.2015 without assigning any reason then, however, this time, the same was approved by him on 06.01.2021, without even taking approval of the Council of Ministers,” he said in reference to the report.

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