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Long queues at liquor shops in Delhi, authorities struggle to maintain social distancing

The Delhi government''s nod to open state-run liquor shops from Monday saw people lining up in large numbers outside outlets, with police personnel struggling to manage the crowd.

PTI PTI
New Delhi Updated on: May 04, 2020 13:26 IST
Long queues at liquor shops in Delhi, authorities struggle to maintain social distancing
Image Source : PTI

Long queues at liquor shops in Delhi, authorities struggle to maintain social distancing

The Delhi government''s nod to open state-run liquor shops from Monday saw people lining up in large numbers outside outlets, with police personnel struggling to manage the crowd. A shop had to be closed in Mayur Vihar in east Delhi as people failed to maintain social distancing.

According to an official, 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 (MHA). 

On Monday, liquor shops opened in the national capital after 42 days. The shops were closed due to lockdown restrictions imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus.

In several areas like Burari, Mayur Vihar, Gandhi Vihar, Rohini and Janakpuri, a large number of people had lined up outside outlets.

Police personnel were seen trying to manage the crowd outside many outlets where more than five people are not allowed at a given time.

The government has directed four state-run agencies, which are responsible to sell liquor, to deploy adequate marshals at these shops.

There are around 850 liquor shops in the city including those run by government agencies and private individuals.

In an order on Sunday night, the excise department also directed officials to identify liquor shops, which are being run by private individuals (L-7 licensee) and fulfil conditions laid down by the MHA. 

The officials have been asked them to submit a report within three days.

The government has so far allowed only those liquor shops (L-6 and L-8) to operate which are being run by four state-run agencies responsible for liquor sale in the national capital.

"All liquor shops in malls and markets will remain closed. The government-run shops allowed will operate from 9 am to 6.30 pm.

"The four agencies will deploy marshals to ensure that not more than 5 people are present at one time at the shop," the official said.

The department has asked agencies to coordinate with the local administration and police to maintain law and order.

According to the order, bonded warehouses have also been allowed to resume operation from 7 am to 6.30 pm.

The Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation, the Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation, the Delhi State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited and the Delhi Consumers Cooperative Wholesale Store have been given the permission to open liquor shops in public places, except malls and market complexes.

The agencies will have to give an undertaking stating that liquor shops being allowed to open will fulfil all MHA guidelines, according to the excise department. 

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