Monday, August 16, 2010

Rs 6000 Per Day for Liquor license in Games village

Even as the organizing committee (OC) is still to sort out the catering mess, in a show of remarkable alacrity, Delhi government’s excise department has sorted out the question of what liquor license to allot to the Games Village where liquor will be served for just 15 days.

It is a unique requirement as most commercial liquor licenses are awarded on an annual basis. After much debate, a decision has now been taken to award L-49 license which allows liquor to be served for four hours, only in case of the Village. A fee of Rs 3,000 per day will have to be paid twice a day to account for lunch and dinner.

Whether liquor will be served during the Games has been a touchy issue with not just the opposition but even Union sports minister M S Gill making it amply clear that he is not in favor of liquor being served at the Games venues. However, keeping in mind the requirements of athletes and Games officials from western countries, a decision has been taken to allow liquor to be served at the Games Village. But liquor will not be served in rooms and will be limited to the dining area, said an official of the excise department.

Said a senior official: ‘‘At Rs 6,000 per day, we will get close to a lakh in the license fees for the period of the Games. But we are hoping to earn much more in vend fee from the liquor that the caterer buys because as per the conditions of the license, liquor served under it has to be bought from the retail market and not a wholesaler. That would be our main income.’’

The department, however, has not yet worked out an estimate of how much that income would be. Officials say representatives of the organizing committee had recently come to the department to work out the modalities of the liquor license. That is when the department realized to its dismay that there was actually no license for this kind of requirement. The license that is issued to hotels is an annual one and comes at a hefty price which OC doubted whether the caterer would be willing to pay.

‘‘Then we told them that the only way out may be to issue daily licenses, if required for more than once a day. That would take care of the situation. They liked the suggestion,’’ the official added. OC was told to ask the catering contractor for the Village to apply.

‘‘We will issue the license to the contractor. Now it is for them to finalize who that will be,’’ the official said.