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Shut down liquor vends: Delhi Resident Welfare Associations urge govt

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New Delhi, May 4, 2020 –

After long queues outside liquor shops in the national capital took social distancing norms for a ride, the Resident Welfare Associations (RWA’s) in the city have urged the government to immediately close down all liquor vends and review arrangements.

Several Resident Welfare Associations in Delhi have strongly objected to opening of liquor shops in most parts of the city despite entire Delhi being declared as a Red Zone with over 4,459 coronavirus cases .

“The long queues started early in the morning outside liquor shops, even before the shops opened for sale, which led to social distancing going for a toss, in some areas it became a law and order problem and some vends had to be shut,” said V.K. Arora, Convenor of Delhi RWA Forum.

Some even suggested the Delhi government to first review the situation and open the vends in proper phased manner to ensure that no social distancing norms are flouted. “The first day of opening of liquor vends was tricky and has already led to long queues and chaos in the city, the government should immediately shut the liquor vends and come up with a policy to regulate the sale by opening in phased manner,” said Rajiv Kakria, member of the RWA of Greater Kailash 1.

“The government can adopt odd-even formula to control crowds, can think about home delivery of liquor on lines of the West Bengal government, can introduce rationing per person to prevent hoarding or black marketing,” Kakria suggested.

One such unique suggestion came from the General Secretary of Green Park Extension RWA, who suggested to rope in RWAs to distribute liquor. “Even RWA’s can be roped in for distribution of liquor,” Puri said.

Many others pointed out at the high risk that these long queues, as they claimed not just liquor shops but unchecked plying of autos and rikshaws, is also a concern. “Delhi is already witnessing high rise of coronavirus cases in the last couple of days, with limited government medical facilities it is looking for further troubles,” said V.N. Bali of East Delhi RWA federation.

With the Delhi government opening around 150 select state-run liquor shops in the city, long queues and violation of social distancing norms were witnessed at many places in the national capital on Monday, forcing many such stores to close down.

Buyers had begun to gather outside many liquor shops, allowed to operate, as early as 8.30 a.m. leading to long queues. According to a Delhi government official, about 150 liquor shops have been allowed to open in accordance with the latest lockdown relaxations given by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

There are around 850 liquor shops in the city, including those run by the state government agencies and private individuals. In the order that allowed these shops to be reopened, the Delhi government instructed all shop incharges and other staff to report at their respective shops at 7 a.m. sharp from Monday onwards. The sale of liquor has been capped at nine litres and one beer case for one customer.  (Agency)

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