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Cheers! DDA to remove last hurdle for Delhi to get its own microbreweries

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DELHI: Soon, Delhi residents will not have to go all the way to Gurugram for a swig of freshly brewed beer.

The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) is all set to modify the master plan to allow microbreweries in the national capital. A proposal is expected to be tabled at the DDA meeting on Friday.

According to the proposal, “Microbreweries up to 500 litres/day capacity may be allowed to be set up at any restaurant/hotel/club subject to installation of on-site wastewater treatment facility and adherence to related no-objection certificates (NOC)/licences required.”

Although the Delhi government had cleared the proposal to set up microbreweries in hotels and restaurants three years ago, it could not be implemented as breweries were listed under the ‘prohibited/negative’ list of industries in the Master Plan of Delhi (MPD) 2021.

On December 17, 2017, Delhi’s cabinet cleared the first hurdle for microbreweries by amending the excise policy. A day later, lieutenant governor Anil Baijal approved a request from the government to remove microbreweries from the ‘prohibited’ list of the master plan. The matter was approved by DDA’s technical committee in January 2018.

However, it could not be placed before the DDA sooner, as the Supreme Court had stayed any modification in the master plan while hearing the matter related to sealing in the city earlier this year, said a senior DDA official aware of the development. “Now, the stay has been lifted,” he said on the condition of anonymity.

Microbreweries produce small quantities of freshly brewed beer. Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, Goa and Chandigarh are among the few states and union territories to have allowed the setting up of microbreweries. Haryana was among the first to have allowed micro-brew pubs. Gurugram opened its first such brewery in 2008 and now has 47 microbreweries.

A pint of beer in a microbrewery costs Rs 28 a pint of 350ml against a bottle off the shelves of retail stores for at least Rs 70.

Once approved in the meeting, DDA officials say it will take a few months for the modification to be notified. The proposal will be placed in the public domain for suggestions/objections.

“Microbrewery owners will have to take all the necessary permissions from other departments even after the modification is made in the MPD,” a DDA official said.

Restaurant owners say a change in the master plan will not only bring in more revenue, it will also spare Delhiites the drive to Gurugram to enjoy freshly brewed beer. “If the approval process is fast-tracked, it will be good for consumers and the state,” said Rahul Singh, president of the National Restaurant Association of India.

According to Delhi government officials, there is a huge demand for freshly brewed beer. Delhi excise commissioner Amjad Tak said, “Seeing the response in Gurugram, we can safely say that there is a huge demand for freshly brewed beer. We have just one application pending so far, but more people will apply once the modification in the MPD is made.”

The excise department in Gurugram makes Rs 69 crore per year from just 47 microbreweries.

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