Despite the imposition of a 70 per cent “special corona fee” on liquor, hundreds of tipplers queued up outside liquor vends in Delhi for the second consecutive day on Tuesday, keeping the police on their toes. At some places, like the Gole Market in central Delhi, although the liquor shops were shut, baton-wielding paramilitary personnel were deployed to keep the crowd at bay.
Over 150 government-run outlets were opened up across the city on Monday for the first time since the lockdown was announced by the Delhi government on March 23.
As people made a beeline to liquor shops, throwing social distancing caution to the winds, the police had a hard time in controlling the situation. Hundreds lined up in queues, which in some places stretched beyond a kilometre in Delhi, and police had to resort to lathicharge to force shops to shut.
Delhi Police’s Special Branch later prepared a report and suggested that the timing for sale of alcohol be extended. For now, the government has allowed it to be sold from 9:30 am to 6 pm.
As liquor shops reopened in many other states, here’s what they are doing to control the crowd:
AP govt hikes liquor prices by another 50 per cent
The Andhra Pradesh government has increased prices of liquor by another 50 per cent on Tuesday, only a day after imposing a 25 per cent hike. Special Chief Secretary (Revenue) Rajat Bhargava said the increase in liquor rates was to ‘discourage’ people from consumption and safeguard health. The state government also decided to open liquor outlets from 12 noon, instead of 11 am, till 7 pm.
PTI reported that the fresh hike (50 per cent) in rates could fetch an additional revenue of Rs 9,000 crore per annum to the state government. The entire liquor business in AP is controlled by the state government through its own retail outlets, numbering 3,468.
Chhattisgarh launches portal for home delivery of liquor
The Chhattisgarh government has launched a web portal for home delivery of liquor in green zones of the state to avoid crowding at wine shops during the coronavirus-enforced lockdown. People can book orders directly through the CSMCL website or its mobile app available on the Play Store.
People will have to register their mobile number, Aadhaar number and address for placing the order online which will be confirmed through an OTP (one time password). A customer can order up to 5,000 ml of liquor at a time for home delivery, the official said, adding that the delivery charge is Rs 120.
Police warn of action in Pune
Taking a serious note of long queues outside liquor shops in Pune, police have warned of strict action against such shops if they become the cause of crowding. Pune Commissioner of Police K Venkatesham directed liquor shops to ensure that social distancing norms are complied with. He also asked liquor shop owners to adopt a token system with timings. The police commissioner said that vehicles without a valid pass are not allowed including for the purchase of liquor.
Punjab to decide on doorstep delivery of liquor
A day after people gathered in large numbers outside liquor vends in various parts of the state, Punjab is expected to decide today on allowing home delivery of alcohol instead of allowing people to stand in queue and risk a spike in Covid-19 cases. Punjab’s Excise and Taxation Commissioner Vivek Partap Singh told The Indian Express that a “decision will be taken today”. He added that the sentiment behind the proposal was that social distancing guidelines were disregarded by tipplers who made a beeline for the liquor stores.
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