Nation Choose ‘Jaam’ over ‘Jaan’
NEW DELHI : As India enters its third phase of lockdown today, several states on Monday gave relaxation in norms as the lockdown imposed to check the rapid spread of coronavirus entered its third phase.
The lockdown has led to a major economic contraction in states affecting revenue streams.several restrictions have been lifted and many states have announced the opening of shops selling non-essential items like clothes, shoes, stationery, paan, cigarettes, and liquor.
India continued to see a spike in the number of coronavirus COVID-19 infections as the total stood at 42,533 cases and 1,373 fatalities, the total includes 11,707 recovered cases. As many as 2,553 fresh cases and 72 deaths have been reported on Monday (May 4, 2020). The recovery rate of India stands at 27.52 percent.
Hundreds of people were seen in long-queues outside liquor stories on Monday morning to get their stock of booze, with social distancing norms being thrown in vain at most places. Even firecrackers were burnt and buyers showered with flowers outside wines shops in certain areas.
About 150 government-run liquor shops have been allowed to open from 9 am to 6.30 pm in accordance with the latest lockdown relaxations given by the Ministry of Home Affairs
Hours after liquor stores re-opened across India this morning, many shops in Delhi were shut again as huge crowds gathered outside the outlets, flouting social distancing norms.
These shops should not be located in markets and malls in urban areas, the government said, adding that minimum six-feet social distancing should be ensured, while no more than five people are allowed inside a shop at a time.
In Delhi, policemen were seen resorting to force in several parts of the city as they tried to control crowds outside liquor stores this morning. Nearly 100 liquor shops were permitted to open in the national capital that has over 90 containment zones.
In neighboring Haryana, the shops remain shut as the district excise and taxation department has not received any fresh directive from the state government. Like Haryana, Punjab has also not allowed the resumption of sale of alcohol.
In Maharashtra, the worst-hit state in the country, only five shops selling non-essential items are allowed in each lane. Visuals from Mumbai showed long queues outside liquor stores as shops re-opened after a month.
In Lucknow, the state’s capital, people started queuing outside outlets before they re-opened this morning. Senior excise department officials inspected stores across the city to ensure social distancing norms. In rural parts, no queues were seen outside the shops. In April, excise collections were only a little over 1 per cent of the projected collections by the state government. Many say this has prompted the re-opening of liquor stores.
Madhya Pradesh will re-open the outlets from tomorrow except in cities like Indore, Bhopal and Ujjain that are severely-hit by the outbreak. Amid a lack of clarity over re-opening of alcohol shops in Bengal, Kolkata Police used batons to disperse crowds today outside an outlet in Kalighat area.
Hours before the shutters went up, queues were seen outside outlets in some parts of Karnataka this morning where shops have been allowed to open between 9 am to 7 pm. Andhra Pradesh has allowed the sale of alcohol with a prohibition tax.
Puducherry has not taken a decision on re-opening the liquor stores, ANI reported.Himachal Pradesh, Chhatisgarh and Rajasthan are among other states where alcohol shops have been allowed to re-open from today.
(Bureau Reports with Agency Inputs ).