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Long queues outside liquor shops pose a new challenge for Delhi Police

Some senior officers say that the government should review its decision to open liquor shops

Lockdown | Coronavirus | liquor shop

Business Standard 

people, line, lockdown, coronavirus, liquor shop
People outside a liquor shop at Chander Nagar in East Delhi on Monday. The Delhi government is set to charge 70% more tax on liquor from Tuesday.

Delhi Police's bottle of woes

Notwithstanding the whopping 70 per cent "special corona fee" on the maximum retail price of alcohol, the queues outside liquor shops in the national capital continued to be long on Tuesday. If sources are to be believed, this has caused some heartburn among Delhi Police ranks as the force is already bogged down with disaster-management duties — ranging from curbing movements, assisting in the supply of essentials to providing relief measures. Some senior officers say that the government should review its decision to open liquor shops, otherwise the police might be forced to shut them if crowd management gets out of hand. Some are also considering writing to the state excise department officials to deploy their own manpower and flying squads to assist security personnel and ensure smooth supply and sale amid heavy demand.

Fleeing migrants

Migrant workers fleeing shelter homes is the new headache for Delhi Police. Despite offering them inducements in kind — new clothes and so on — they seem to wait for the first opportunity to scoot. Earlier this week, 27 of them escaped from a temporary shelter home in west Delhi, said police. They were among the 56 migrant workers who were shifted from a government school in Punjabi Bagh to the new shelter home at Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya. Within a day, all of them had broken out of the home. Later, 30 were nabbed by the police and brought back. The shelter home-in-charge has lodged a complaint against those still absconding.

Shut-and-open case

Madhya Pradesh has a problem. Even though the state government has allowed liquor sales in its green and orange zones, contractors are not in favour of opening their outlets. The ostensible reason is the steep rise in Covid-19 cases. Several liquor contractors met senior excise officials in Bhopal on Monday. Later they held their meeting, where it was decided that the outlets would not be opened. Sources said the real issue was licence fee. Once shops are opened, traders would have to pay the fees even if their sales don’t match the targets, which is likely, given the restrictions on movements and gatherings. Traders are of the view that the state government should offer them a licence waiver because their outlets were shut for about 40 days. The excise department, on the other hand, has threatened action if shops remain closed.

First Published: Tue, May 05 2020. 23:11 IST