Rebutting a “public perception” that the Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructural Development Corporation Limited (DSIIDC) and the Delhi Tourism and Transport Development Corporation (DTTDC), which had been constituted to promote industrial and infrastructural development and promotion of tourism respectively, “promote” liquor, the two bodies have rejected such a “perception”, maintaining that the 230 liquor stores they operate in the national capital are “part of their business”.
The DSIIDC has about 112 liquor stores, including 97 IMFL (Indian Made Foreign Liquor) vends and 15 country liquor vends and generated a revenue of Rs 967.17 crore in the financial year 2013-14, according to the annual report released by the DSIIDC in 2014. The report also lays down expansion plans of the IMFL division of the DSIIDC in the coming years. However, the DTTDC did not respond to repeated mails requesting data on their liquor division.
Nevertheless, Rajesh Kumar, general manager of DSIIDC, denied such claims, saying, “Yes, we certainly have several liquor stores around the National Capital; that’s one of our businesses, but that is not the only job we do. The DSIIDC has been instrumental in relocating several industrial areas after the 1996 Supreme Court judgment (M.C. Mehta v/s Union of India and others case), where industries had to be shifted to non-residential areas on the outskirts of the city like Bawana, Wazirpur and Badli, among others. We have also been constructing low-cost houses for the Delhi government under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme, along with other government projects. So, to term DSIIDC as a liquor agency is wrong. We do sell liquor and generate significant revenue from our liquor stores, but that is not our only job.”
Delhi Tourism Minister Kapil Mishra also denied allegations of DTTDC focusing more on the sale of liquor. He said, “The Delhi Tourism does not promote the sale of liquor. However, we do have liquor shops under the DTTDC.” Kapil had earlier said that the Delhi government is planning to reduce the drinking age in the National Capital from 25 to 21 years. Questioned on the same, he said, “I am of the view that drinking age should be reduced to 21 years from the current legal drinking age of 25 years in the state. We are also deliberating on legally reducing it very soon. However, we will certainly take into account the views of all stakeholders.”
According to Mishra, the Delhi Tourism Ministry is also formulating plans to make Delhi more tourist-friendly. Pointing to drawbacks in the Hop-On and Hop-Off bus service that is meant to facilitate movement of tourists around the city, he said “The Hop-On and Hop-Off bus service lacks creativity; it was launched in a hurry on the backdrop of the Commonwealth Games in 2010. We are, therefore, reviewing this service and will come out with a better plan that would be easily accessible and be more convenient.” The Ministry has also finalised talks on setting up a Madame Tussauds Museum in Delhi, Mishra said, though he did not disclose the location and project cost.