Tipplers throw “social distancing” norms to the winds


Undeterred by the threat of coronavirus infection or the ‘special corona fee’ of 70 per cent levied on alcohol, hundreds of tipplers queued up outside liquor vends in the national capital for the second consecutive day on Tuesday, keeping the police on their toes

Long queues were formed outside the vends in Krishna Nagar and Vishwas Nagar, and a large number of policemen stood outside to manage the crowd and ensure social distancing

At some places, like the Gole Market in central Delhi, although the liquor shops were shut, baton-wielding paramilitary personnel were also deployed to keep the crowd at bay

About 150 government-run liquor shops have been allowed to open from 9 am to 6.30 pm as per the latest lockdown relaxations allowed by the Ministry of Home Affairs

On Monday, many liquor shops downed their shutters after crowds turned unruly, showing little care about social distancing. Late in the night, the Delhi government levied a 70 per cent ‘special corona fee’ on the sale of liquor. The new rate is applicable from Tuesday

The special branch of the Delhi police has also prepared a report suggesting extending the timings of the liquor sale in Delhi after chaos outside shops on Monday

To ensure that he gets his stock of liquor, Bharat Kumar, a resident of Burari, stood outside the liquor shop since 8 am — the shop opens at 9. But there were many even ahead of him

“I was in queue for liquor since 8 am. Despite this, it took me one and half hour to buy three liquor bottles,” he said

Asked about the government’s decision to impose a hefty ‘corona fee’ to discourage tipplers, he said, “It will not affect us. People will get liquor from Gurgaon, Noida and Ghaziabad.”

But there were many who still could not manage to buy liquor for the second day

“I searched for some shops in Krishna Nagar but there were long queues of around 400-500 people. Here, the shop has not been opened and policemen are sending us back. It’s not fair, the government has raised the price so much and still there are problems if one tries to buy it,” said Raj Kumar, 38, who had come to a liquor shop in Shakarpur in east Delhi

Ramesh, who declined to share his second name, said he was trying his luck after failing to buy liquor bottles from nearby shops because of the huge crowd

“Yesterday, I waited for two hours in a queue outside a shop but the police closed it after the crowd became unruly,” Ramesh said

Rajbir Singh, in his late 40s, tried his luck at a liquor vend behind Regal Cinema in central Delhi, but failed

“I only have one peg every fortnight. But I have not had even that for long,” Singh said.


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