Serpentine queues were seen outside liquor stores in Delhi on Tuesday for the second consecutive day, even as the government imposed 70% extra tax – dubbed “special corona fees” – on the sale alcohol.
Norms of social distancing were broken in several areas as people awaited their turns. In some places, the police resorted to baton-charging to control the swelling crowd, according to NDTV. Others were seen covering their faces with handmade masks and handkerchiefs.
A man outside a liquor store in East Delhi’s Krishna Nagar, told the channel that he had been waiting outside the shop since 4 am. Meanwhile, at another store in Vishwas Nagar, men were virtually sticking to each other in queues, as they waited outside for hours. “I haven’t had a drink for 42 days,” a man said. “Let me drink today.”
In Chander Nagar locality of the Capital, a man showered flower petals on people standing in queue outside a liquor shop. “You are the economy of our country, government does not have any money,” he told the people, according to ANI.
The increase in the price of alcohol came after locals in some parts of the Capital crowded liquor stores on Monday, defying physical distancing guidelines during the lockdown to control the spread of the coronavirus.
More than 150 government-run liquor shops have been permitted to stay open in the Capital between 9 am and 6 pm, following the Centre’s latest guidelines. The police, however, ordered the shutdown of all liquor shops in East Delhi, Northeast Delhi, Shahdara and Southwest districts on Monday, after a vendor failed to maintain physical distancing.
Delhi has been classified a Covid-19 red zone or a hotspot. The Capital has reported 4,898 cases with 64 deaths as of Tuesday, according to the health ministry. India has recorded 46,711 coronavirus cases and 1,583 deaths as of Tuesday evening.