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Thursday, July 02, 2020

36% liquor stores back in business in Mumbai

At the epicentre of coronavirus infections in the country, Mumbai has disallowed counter sales of liquor to avoid big crowds outside beer and wine shops. It was also one of the last districts to permit home deliveries of liquor.

Written by Sandeep Ashar | Mumbai | Published: May 26, 2020 4:14:08 am
liquor sale, coronavirus lockdown, Mumbai news, Maharashtra news, Indian exrpess news While the state had first permitted home deliveries from May 15 onwards, the Mumbai civic body allowed it in both the island city and suburbs only three days ago. (Representational)

After a sluggish start, Mumbai finally seems to be warming up to the concept of home delivery of liquor. On Monday, one in two orders placed for home deliveries of alcohol in Maharashtra came from Mumbai. While a total of 49,373 orders were placed, senior excise department officials claimed, 24,615 were from the commercial capital alone.

At the epicentre of coronavirus infections in the country, Mumbai has disallowed counter sales of liquor to avoid big crowds outside beer and wine shops. It was also one of the last districts to permit home deliveries of liquor.

While the state had first permitted home deliveries from May 15 onwards, the Mumbai civic body allowed it in both the island city and suburbs only three days ago.

According to Excise Department’s statistics, 3,062 orders were placed across Mumbai on May 23, the first day of sales after it was permitted. The numbers rose to 18,964 on May 24 and further grew to 24,615 Monday.

Mumbai has 1,190 retail liquor stores in all. By Monday evening, 424 out of these or 36 per cent of licensed shops had commenced home deliveries after acquiring necessary permissions.

“We expect home deliveries to further pick up during the week with more stores expected to start sales,” said a senior department official. The department is expecting most of the stores situated outside the 600-odd containment zones to avail the option in the coming days. “There are conditions that a store owner must meet before permitting home deliveries. This includes getting all the delivery staff medically screened and obtaining identification cards for them from the department,” said another official.

On expected lines, the home delivery option has been more popular in the bigger cities. According to the officials, a bulk of the 3,31,655 orders placed since May 15 have stemmed from urban neighbourhoods. After the initial rush outside stores, department also said that social-distancing measures outside liquor stores are being implemented more effectively.

With liquor counter sales commencing first from May 4 onwards, department has, so far, earned Rs 292.15 crore in tax revenues. Before the state went into lockdown in March, the state was earning an average daily income of Rs 40 crore from excise revenue.

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