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Delhi: Since 2015, wait for microbreweries on

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NEW DELHI: In June 2015, the Delhi government announced in its excise policy for 2015-16 that it would allow restaurants and hotels to open microbreweries on their premises. It made Delhiites hopeful that they soon won’t have to travel to Gurugram for freshly brewed beer. However, their wait is not over yet.

The policy couldn’t be implemented as under the rules, breweries were then considered liquor-making plants banned in the capital. More than two years passed before the lieutenant governor, in late 2017, approved the move to take microbreweries out of the prohibited category under Delhi Development Authority’s master plan 2021.

The legal hurdle may have gone, but the capital is yet to get any microbrewery. More than one year after the LG’s approval, the excise department is waiting for the notification of the changes in the master plan to frame a policy to allow microbreweries.

The situation puts Delhi in a disadvantageous position as microbreweries have been recently allowed by the UP government in Noida and Ghaziabad while Gurugram already has these facilities. Restaurant owners say there is no match to the charm of freshly brewed beer, a hot favourite among beer lovers. With beer consumption steadily rising in the city, microbreweries can offer unique flavours without additives and preservatives.

Not only the city restaurants are missing on a large volume of business, microbreweries can also create hundreds of jobs. It is estimated that microbreweries can create business worth around Rs 5,000 crore, but the delay has already shifted a huge portion of it to the rest of the national capital region.

“We are currently waiting for the notification of the necessary changes in the master plan 2021. After the notification, the policy to allow setting up facilities with a capacity to brew 500 litre beer will be framed,” said an excise official. An assessment on the possibility of pollution due to the residues of microbreweries claims the facilities are not likely to cause any pollution.

A source said that in September 2018, DDA had cleared the proposal to facilitate the setting up of microbreweries. “The proposal has been sent to the Union ministry of housing and urban affairs for notification,” he added.

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