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The Delhi government on Monday reduced the number of dry days to just three from the existing 21. Under the new excise policy, liquor shops and opium vends in the national capital will now remain closed only on three national holidays -- Republic Day (January 26), Independence Day (August 15) and Gandhi Jayanti on October 2.

The excise department, however, said the restriction on sale of liquor on dry days will not apply to the service of alcohol to occupants in case of hotels having L-15 license. L-15 license allows hotels to serve liquor to guests in their rooms.

"In pursuance of the provisions of Rule 52 of Delhi Excise Rules, 2010, it is hereby ordered that the following dates shall be observed as "Dry Day" in the National Capital Territory of Delhi by all the licensees of the Excise department and opium vends located in Delhi for the year 2022," the department's order stated, listing the three national holidays as the days when the sale of alcohol will not be permitted.

Earlier, the dry days numbered 21 including on birth anniversary of great leaders and religious festivals. The business premises of a licensee will be kept closed on dry day.

In 2021, the dry days had been observed on Holi, Diwali, Janmashtami, Muharram, Id-ul-Zuha (Bakrid), Good Friday, Ram Navami, Mahavir Jayanti, Buddha Purnima, Maharishi Valmiki' s Birthday, Guru Nanak's Birthday, Dussehra and other occasions.

The order issued on Monday said that apart from the three dry days, the government may declare any other day in the year as 'Dry Day' from time to time.

The licensees will not be entitled to any compensation on account of any changes related to number of 'dry days'. All the licensees will exhibit the 'dry day' order at some conspicuous place of their licensed premises, it said.

The decision drew praise from the hospitality industry but invited criticism from opposition BJP and Congress.

 

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