War of words in Assembly over liquor revenue

War of words in Assembly over liquor revenue

War of words in Assembly over liquor revenue

The Delhi Assembly session saw a war of words on Tuesday over the city’s excise policy with the opposition BJP accusing the Aam Aadmi Party government of relying on revenue from the sale of liquor.

While the government maintained that the number of liquor licences issued has gone down, Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta along with BJP MLA Jagdish Pradhan staged a walk-out alleging that the data presented by the government was “eyewash”.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said there was no intention of running the government through the revenue generated by liquor sale. He, however, added that declaring Delhi a dry state was not practical at the moment.

The heated exchange on the second day of the session started when Sisodia and other AAP MLAs claimed that the Arvind Kejriwal government had managed to generate excess revenue because of its corruption-free policies.

“Earlier a lot of money used to go into the pockets of ministers and officials. Now all of that comes to the exchequer. That is the reason the revenue has increased. A few new liquor vends cannot double the revenue,” he said.

According to data presented in the Assembly, six new vends under the L-6 licence were given permission to run in 2016-17.

However, Vijender Gupta alleged that according to the figures provided by Sisodia himself in the House when the new government came to power in 2014-15, the number of liquor retail licences was 1,532. This rose to a record high of 1,674 by August 10 this year.

“The government’s recent announcement on not issuing new licences is out of compulsion, as it wants to present an anti-liquor image. However, it is grossly fallacious,” the Bharatiya Janata Party MLA said.

He claimed that while six new L-6 licences were issued, the number of L-17 licences – granted to restaurants – rose from 669 to 700. Similarly, liquor licences issued under other categories such as L-10 and L-12 also increased.

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