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Delhi’s old excise regime likely to be extended as new policy yet to be announced: Report

The old excise regime implemented on September 1 last year in Delhi is likely to be extended as the existing policy is set to expire on September 30, sources told news agency PTI. The sources also said that the new policy is yet to be announced by the Delhi government.

The government had returned to its old excise policy after scrapping its new policy following Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena in July 2022 recommended a CBI probe into alleged irregularities in its implementation.

The existing excise policy was implemented on September 1, 2022 as a stopgap arrangement till a new policy was prepared and implemented by the Delhi government. This policy was scheduled to expire on March 31 but the Delhi government extended it for six months until September 30.

Meanwhile, the excise licence holders for hotel, club and restaurant (HCR) category are facing issues in police verification required for renewal of their permits, said Manpreet Singh, treasurer of National Restaurant Association (NRAI).

He said that renewal of excise licences by September 30 is likely to be affected as police are not accepting applications for verification saying that they cannot entertain individuals.

An HCR category licence is renewed annually and it needs to be done by September 30 this year as the existing policy lapses on the date.

“Police have said that the verification process needs to be moved through some government agency or department and not by individuals. Also, they have expressed inability to process large number of verifications in such a short period of time,” Singh said.

However, he claimed that the Excise Department has “assured” that there will be no issue in renewal of HCR category licences due to police verification.

“The officials at the department have said that the issue of police verification will be sorted at the department level and further instructions will be issued,” he said.

No immediate reaction was available from the Delhi Police and the Excise Department of Delhi government over the issue.

In August, the Excise Department had made it mandatory for proprietors and firm partners running hotels, clubs and restaurants having bars in the city to submit their police verification certificates.

The step was taken by the department to ensure that a person holding the excise licence was of good moral character and did not have any criminal record.

There are over 970 HCR category licensees in the city. Around 400 HCR category licensees have approached the police for verification, bar owners said.

Though the character verification of the main applicant seeking HCR category licence is done by the Delhi Police, the Excise Department has sought verification of all directors and partners of joint ownership where licences were issued by it.

The sources said that despite having a separate branch for the purpose, verification of background of such a large number of people within the deadline could be challenging for the police.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Updated: 26 Sep 2023, 08:14 AM IST