Badnawar (Dhar district, Madhya Pradesh): Amid increasing number of corona cases in Badnawar tehsil, district administration imposed 10-hour night curfew from 8 pm to 6 am in the villages to contain infection in the area.
This has upset local traders who close their shops before 8 pm. They have objected to three-hour extra relaxation given to liquor shops in villages. Traders claimed that though they are supporting administration in their cause, why liquor shops have been exempted specially when people who go to buy liquor hardly bother to maintain social distance or wear masks. Badnawar has 166 corona positive cases.
“It seems that this order of restriction issued by District Magistrate under Section 144 of Cr PC is not applicable for liquor shops. The shops are open till 11 at night where customers enter fearlessly for drinking,” Radheyshyam Vasunia, a cloth trader in Badnawar, said.
Badnawar Grocery Traders Association president Anil Loniya said all traders cooperate with administration as they shut their shops before 8 pm but liquor shops remain open till 11 pm. “This is discrimination and it can’t be accepted for long. The government must issue equal guidelines for all business establishments as we also contribute to government revenue,” Loniya added. Many locals have also opposed administration’s decision to allow liquor shops to open till late night.
However, an administrative officer wishing anonymity said orders are applicable on liquor shops too. “But liquor shops are allowed to remain open for more than prescribed time limit as the excise revenue matters for government,” he added.
When contacted, Dhar district collector Alok Kumar Singh said excise department is not obliged to follow the guidelines as excise commissioner has the right to set time for liquor shops. “It is better to discuss matter with district excise commissioner Yeshwant Dhanora,” he added.
When contacted, Yeshwant Dhanora said excise department is not bound to follow collector’s orders since it is a matter related to state government and revenue. Time for liquor shops is decided at government level. “Therefore, collector's guideline does not apply to us,” he said.