By Mukesh Kumar Sinha/Soumitra Bose
An absolute power in himself (accorded officially by the Government) in Booze-drowned Delhi/New Delhi/South Delhi/East delhi/North Delhi/West Delhi, Neeraj Semwal, IAS of AGMUT cadre, is “Neighbour IAS’ Envy, (Booze) Owners’ Pride” Excise Commissioner of the Department Of Excise, Entertainment and luxury Tax, Government of NCT of Delhi, Vikas Bhavan, I P Estate. Semwal is the whole sole incharge of “in Delhi who will booze what, where in Delhi and when and how much, on which days” thereby is ‘The Sole Boss’ of All Delhiites who wish to/indulge in/dabble in drinking colored water.
Semwal operates from inconspicuous office mentioned above. He has under him 20 officers—deputy commissioners, system analyst, ETO, Programmer, DEO, ACP, ALTO, SUPTs etc — completing his team.
Semwal through them supervises doling cash-rich, cash-doling, hard-cash-producing liqour licences : L-1, L-2, L-3, L-5, L-6, L-7, L-8, L-9, L-10, L-11, L-12, L-13, L-14, L-15, L-16, L-17, L-18, L-19, L-20, L-21, L-22, L-23, L-24, L-25, L-26, L-27, L-28, L-29, L-1L, L-29, L-1F, L-6FG, L-7FG, L-19F, L-1F, L-6FE, L-7FG, L-15F and innumerable others. Intriguingly all of them are active and are of equal weightage. All of them are in teeming demand all the time because all booze is available all the time this way or the other in the whole of Capital of India. Semwal does not object to all Delhiites remaining boozed, tipsy, sozzled or drunk all the time in 24 hours. Semwal says he is helpless as the Government rules are like that. Unless rules are not changed, booze (including fake booze) of all types will be freely available in the capital.
That’s one side of the story. The other side is even more revealing : That is, the extent of parallel economy these licenses produce. Under cutting, over cutting, pumping in fake brands, pushing in spurious liquor, under stocking, absenting specific brands, over emphasizing specific brands, selling spurious stuff of well known brands to reduce their popularity etc consisting of new games everyday (to rope in Delhi masses) all in exchange of fat wads of hard currencies are rules of the game called “Sell Booze, Kill People, Mint Money”.
Above Excise Bosses are always happiest among the Delhi Government Babus because they are always rolling in cash up their sleeves whether they want it or not. According to them off the record, entire booze selling business in Capital is “Do Nambaree”. It tantamounts to Open Parallel Economy. People are gullible. They pay what they drink for and are happy. The stuff they drink are “hoax”, “crap”, “bunkum”.
Officially functions of Excise Department is : The prime job of Excise Department is to regulate import and supply of liquor, intoxicants and narcotics (for medicinal purposes), the statutory powers for which are discharged under the Punjab Excise Act, 1914 and Medicinal and Toilet Preparation Act 1955. The Department grants L-1 Licences to Distilleries/Bottling Plants for the wholesale supply of IMFL and Beer in Delhi, while retail liquor trade in Delhi is mainly in the hands of the Government Undertakings for which a separate licence in form L-2 is granted. Apart from this some private entrepreneurs have also been granted licenses in Form L-52 for retail trade of IMFL & Beer. Besides, Licences for the consumption of liquor ‘on-site’ premises like hotels, restaurants and clubs are also granted by this Department. The Department invites tender on yearly basis for wholesale supply of country liquor from the distilleries/bottling plants and licence in Form L-9 are issued to successful tenderer. The Department also fixes the price of Country Liquor and regulates it’s supply for retail sale through DTTDC/DCCWS Ltd./DSCSC Ltd/DSIIDC for which L-10 license are granted. Licences are also given for holding/hosting private parties as well as for storage for personal consumption beyond the permissible limits.
At present four corporations namely DTTDC, DSCSC, DSIIDC and DCCWS are engaged in the retail trade of liquor, with a total 0 shops for IMFL & Beer and 0 shops for country liquor. The private entrepreneurs are also holding 0 shops for retail sale of IMFL & Beer all over Delhi.The Department has also granted 2 L-53 licence for retail sale of Beer & Mixed Alcoholic Beverages through Departmental Stores for “off-site” consumption in the Excise Year. Sweet Sounding, Logical Eh ? But its not all that really, fully.