Impatient to end a nearly 40-day dry spell, a multitude of tipplers descended on liquor shops that reopened Monday in many parts of India. Liquor sale of Rs 45 crore was recorded on the first day of the opening of liquor shops in Karnataka, as per news agency ANI.
As per the orders of the Karnataka Government, liquor shops started operating today across the state from 9 am to 7 pm with some restrictions. The government has taken the decision to open liquor shops in order to mobilise revenue. However, bars, pubs, restaurants remained closed.
As part of easing lockdown restricts, liquor shops reopened, including red zones but not in hotspots, declared as coronavirus containment zones.
On the other hand, the Maharashtra government expects a revenue of Rs 2,160 crore through excise duty by end of May. Nearly 3327 country liquor shops (total 4159), 1348 foreign liquor shops (1685) and 3463 beer shops (4947) have been reopened from Monday onwards across the state. Of these, in Mumbai alone, 241 country liquor (total 301), 328 foreign liquor (410), and 274 beer shops (342) will start functioning.
Extraordinary scenes of chaos were witnessed outside the government-run shops on Monday in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Lucknow and other cities. While in one shop the first customer was welcomed with a garland of marigolds, in another a customer broke a coconut to herald the end of the coronavirus-enforced lockdown dry spell.
As India entered the third phase of the lockdown and some curbs were eased, the cynosure of attention for those deprived their daily or weekly tipple was clearly the alcohol shops. Coronavirus being the great equaliser, they stood together, the affluent and the not so, united in their urgency to stock up on their favourite tipple, be it single malt and pricey beers and wine, or humbler IMFL and country liquor.