Despite the Delhi Government announcing a 70 per cent “special corona fee” on alcohol late on Monday, hundreds of people on Tuesday lined up outside liquor shops in the national Capital, for the second consecutive day as they sought to lay their hands on a bottle of their favourite tipple.
The crowd was seen jostling restlessly with each other without following social distancing norms across the national Capital on a day when the Delhi Government also withdrew lifting of curbs in the areas which witnessed violation of social distancing norms on Monday.
Following violation of the social distancing norms, the police also used lathis to control the crowd on Tuesday.
Long queues were formed outside liquor 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 deployed to keep the crowd at bay.
There were several people who had lined up at liquor outlets since 4 am. “We had arrived here at the liquor shop around 7 am but before us there were several others who had already formed a kilometre long queue,” said Suraj, who went to buy liquor at Laxmi Nagar.
“The shop opened at around 9 am and it took me more than two hours to buy three bottles of liquor,” he said.
When asked about the 70 per rent increase in liquor rates as corona fee was imposed, Suraj said it doesn’t affect and who are willing to buy liquor will buy at higher rates too.
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.
“On Monday, 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
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.
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.
Wednesday, 06 May 2020 | Staff Reporter | New Delhi