Sparkling establishments providing world-class user experience to customers. A safe environment where women can buy alcohol. End cartelization, poor quality alcohol and entrenched pressure groups controlling availability, finances and distribution. These are some of the promises made when Delhi adopted a new excise policy last year. Unfortunately, the promises have remained in vain. The Delhi government announced this week that it would revert to its old excise policy and only allow the sale of alcohol through government outlets. The rollback came against the backdrop of a deadly battle between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government and Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena, who reports to the Union Home Ministry, over the alleged irregularities in the distribution of liquor permits. Last week, Mr. Saxena recommended a Central Bureau of Investigation investigation into alleged rule violations and procedural failures in the implementation of Excise Policy 2021-22.
However, as this political saga unfolds – the AAP blames the Bharatiya Janata Party, which argues the rollback points to possible wrongdoing – one thing is clear: the customer will be most affected. With the queues, the panic sales and the return of the theka, the possibility of a dignified purchase seems gone, as does the likelihood of finding a wide variety of brands or customers feeling safe when buying alcohol. Whether the reason for the crisis is political one-upmanship or corruption remains to be seen, but all parties involved would do well to ensure that governance and transparency are not affected by partisan bickering which only undermines quality. life of the simple Delhiite.
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