Why did Rajasthan close down its wine shops? Excise department shuts down shops until further notice

Rajasthan Excise Department on Monday ordered that wine shops will not be open in Rajasthan until further orders.

The ruling comes after several parts of the state witnessed large crowds outside wine shops. People did not observe social distancing and there was a lathi charge reported in Banswara and Kota.

Meanwhile, a day after the Maharashtra government said shops selling non-essential commodities, including liquor, will be allowed to open from Monday in the COVID-19 non-containment zones, five districts in the state have decided not to permit liquor sale.

Administrations in Solapur, Aurangabad, Jalna, Buldhana and Amravati districts have issued instructions that liquor shops will not be allowed to open.

"The decision is taken in adherence to the Disaster Management Act, and to prevent any further spread of the coronavirus infection," a collector from one of these districts told PTI on Monday.

The Buldhana and Amravati administrations have also decided to continue with prohibition on liquor sale till May 17 and only allow sale of essential commodities, sources said.

Besides, several liquor manufacturing and bottling units located in Aurangabad can resume production, but the district administration has prohibited its sale.

The Nagpur civic body has also decided not to allow liquor sale in the city municipal limits, a senior district official said.

It is the civic body's decision and there are "no such instructions from the Nagpur district collector, which would mean liquor sale is prohibited in the city limits but allowed in rural areas," he said.

Liquor is a major source of revenue for Maharashtra, which earned about Rs 45,000 crore in the form of taxes on it in 2019-20, an official from state excise department said.

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