Crowding at liquor shops remained a major problem for the police as hundreds continued to queue up at liquor shops and, in many cases, failed to observe social distancing norms despite appeals.
Pune Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar held a meeting with State Excise Superintendent Santosh Zagade, following which a circular was issued laying down strict directives in the standard operating procedure to be followed during sale of liquor.
According to the directives, if more than 30 customers queue up outside a shop, the owner should allot them paper tokens mentioning time window within which they can visit the shop and buy liquor instead of standing in the queue. For this purpose, shop timings will be divided between two sessions — from 10 am to 2 pm (white token) and 2 pm to 5.30 pm (yellow token).
“Owners should issue 50 tokens for every half hour window and they should ensure that not more than 50 people queue up outside a shop. They should mark out squares on the floor to ensure that people follow social distancing of six feet,” read the directives signed by Mhaisekar.
Violation of these rules will result in suspension of licence for 10 days. “Action will be taken against violators from tomorrow. Shops were allowed to open as per decisions made by central and state governments,” Mhaisekar said.
Chaos after women demand separate queue at liquor store
At a liquor shop on Bhandarkar Road on Tuesday afternoon, chaos ensued after women demanded a separate queue. After sometime, men started protesting and accused the women of “buying liquor for their men”.
According to police, an altercation led to owner closing the shop for an hour. However, both men — about 100 of them — and women — about a dozen — refused to move away.
“The women are clearly buying liquor for their husbands or brothers. We are waiting here since morning and they are taking it in a few minutes,” said Ramesh Dhotre, a man standing in the queue.
He said he saw many men dropping the women at the shop and then standing further away waiting for them to return with the liquor.
A constable, on condition of anonymity, said the ruckus caused by the two parties led the owner of the shop to close it.
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