May 7, 2021 8:51:34 am
“Theka 5 vaje raat band hovega. Aapni daaru dawa time te lao” (The [liquor] vend will close at 5 pm. Take your liquor and medicine on time), read the hoardings outside a liquor vend in Mohali district on Thursday.
Even as the state grapples with multiple problems of availability of Covid-19 vaccination, shortage of oxygen supply and ICU beds at government hospitals, the liquor vends here have been doing brisk business.
A top official of the Punjab Excise and Taxation department said that the second wave of Covid-19 had reduced the liquor sales to one-third than in normal times. However, on May 4, while revising the Covid restrictions, the Punjab government allowed retail and wholesale liquor vends to open, excluding ahatas.
On being contacted, Punjab Excise and Taxation Department Commissioner Rajat Aggarwal said, “If anyone violates norms, we will take action.” He added that in the absence of routine supply and sale through authorised liquor vends, “bootleggers get active” and there are cases of “illicit liquor being supplied, which is injurious to health.”
With the UT Administration imposing a ban on sale of liquor, the vends in Punjab localities adjoining Chandigarh have become a hotspot for liquor purchase.
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