'Bizarre' Delhi govt order to remove unsold liquor from bars (IANS EXclusive) Lead

New Delhi, Aug 28 (IANS) Citing the issue of refilling of liquor bottles and adulteration at bar counters, the Delhi Excise Department has ordered beer bars and restaurants serving liquors to destroy old stock from the counters in the prescribed time limit on "First In First Out" basis.

"First In First Out" policy seeks that goods purchased first are sold first.

While the time limit for destroying beer, wines including champagne and alcopops would be three days in order of their receipt from the liquor store, liquors such as whiskey, gin, vodka, rum, scotch and tequila having a maximum retail price upto Rs 1,500 are required to be removed in five days.

Bottles of such liquors costing between Rs 1,500 and Rs 6,000 would have to be destroyed in eight days.

In case the liquors are not destroyed within the stipulated time, the stock of liquor that remains un-exhausted or unserved will be deemed to have been consumed and need to be removed from the bar counter.

This liquor stock would need to be destroyed within seven days after making an inventory of the same.

The order would kick in from August 31 and its non-compliance of order would result in cancellation and suspension of liquor license of hotel bars and restaurants.

"The above directions should be strictly complied with. Any violation thereof may entail suspension and/or cancellation of the excise license including black-listing of the defaulter licensee," the order said.

Peeved over the order, bars have termed the order bizarre saying the issue would be taken up with the Excise Department.

"Trade body Hotel and Restaurant Association of Northern India (HRANI) and others would meet Delhi state tax officials on Wednesday," the owner of a hotel chain who did not wish to be named said.

He further said that order is ridiculous and does not make any commercial sense given that there is a rare whiskey that costs Rs 1 lakh a bottle.

"Assuming that only one third of this expensive whiskey is sold or dispensed then will the remaining liquor would be destroyed?" he asked adding that alcohol does not have any expiration date.

The Excise Department in its August 26 order has said that it has observed liquor stock at the bar counter is not disposed/served in the order of its receipt from the liquor store.

"While old stock of liquor is still available at the bar counter, the fresh stock which was received comparatively on a later date from liquor store to the bar counter is actually served/sold to the customers," the order said.

It further said that this practice has the potential for misuse through refilling and adulteration. The department has received complaints in this regard and thus necessitating action.

--IANS

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