Representational image
Representational image
Photo: Sanjay Jog

The novel coronavirus outbreak has hampered the lives of many, and with many businesses having remained shut for the entirety of April, there have been financial loses incurred as well. From Monday, there has been some relaxations when it came to the lockdown, at least for specific parts of the country. Many shops had been allowed to open, and people, going by the crowds flocking to liquor stores, appear to have missed alcohol more than anything else.

Of course, the sheer number of people flocking to liquor shops have led to their own set of problems, as people refused to follow social distancing norms in all areas. In some parts of the country, officials were forced to control the crowds and even order the closure of shops.

One alternative that has been adopted by several states is the home delivery or online order and delivery of liquor.

Chhattisgarh, perhaps the first to adopt the concept of online liquor buying, launched a web portal for home delivery of liquor in green zones of the state. The portal has been named after the state-run CSMCL (Chhattisgarh State Marketing Corporation Limited), which controls the sale of liquor in the state, a public relations department official said.

The liquor shops, which were closed since March 23, opened from Monday across the state, except in the COVID-19 containment zones and shopping malls, following the Centres decision to ease some curbs during the lockdown. The web portal is intended to avoid crowding at liquor shops amid the lockdown.

Following suit, the West Bengal government on on Wednesday allowed home delivery of liquor and the State Beverages Corporation (BEVCO) launched a website through which people over 21 years of age can place orders.

Tipplers can place their orders through the excise department's website. Here is the link. Customers will have to register themselves by providing relevant details such as address and mobile number. After that, they can order liquor from the designated stores that are on the website.

The Punjab government too has allowed home delivery of booze, starting Thursday. An Excise and Taxation Department order from Wednesday states that a maximum of two litres of alcohol, barring state made liquor, can be ordered. The delivery will be carried out by two employees of a liquor vend.

Reportedly, the delivery timings for each district would be decided by the respective Deputy Commissioners.

Liquor shops in the non-containment areas in Punjab will start operating from Thursday. Meanwhile, the state government has changed the timing for opening of shops. The new timings will be from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

While these are the only states allowing online order and home delivery of alcohol at present, according to reports, the Delhi government too is mulling the same. Additional hope for tipplers comes in the form of reports that suggest Zomato is looking to begin delivery of alcohol.

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Free Press Journal