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Raipur: Amid the second wave of COVID-19, the Chhattisgarh government has issued special funds and guidelines for smooth liquor distribution and functioning of liquor shops.

The official order of Deputy-General Manager of Chhattisgarh State Marketing Corporation limited (CSMCL) dated 30-03-2021 said that to save the people from COVID-19 infections, each liquor shop have been provided a fund of Rs 10,000 so that COVID-19 protocol and government instructions can be implemented strictly.

The shopkeepers and management must follow the COVID-19 guidelines properly, maintain social distancing, must keep an adequate number of masks and sanitizer, take care of proper sanitization, and gathering should be prohibited at the liquor shop counters.

The intention is clear that those who needed liquor should get liquor without any disturbance.

The people who are continuously running anti-liquor campaigns in the state and hoping soon the state becomes liquor-free, have seen the order as a matter of discouragement.

Amid the first wave of COVID-19 and lockdown, several families were destroyed due to liquor intoxication, the graph of violence against women had shot up and again lockdown like situations are happening, and such a decision from the government really hurts, Anand Shukla Regional Director of Oxfam India said.

Even after two and half years, the government has not made any remarkable progress on the issue of a total ban on liquor sales in the state, Anand said.

The government has no intention to prohibit liquor sale in the state, despite it being mentioned in its election manifesto, BJP state president Vishnu Dev Sai alleged. Instead of banning liquor ban it encouraged people to buy more liquor, also marked a permissible quota of 5 liters liquor for everybody which was granted for tribal people earlier only. We will oppose the move, the BJP state president said.

Notably, Excise Minister Kawasi Lakhma mentioned in Chhattisgarh assembly in August 2020 that the government has collected revenue of Rs 6831 crore by selling liquor between June 2019-2020.

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