Lockdown 3.0 in Maharashtra: Liquor shops to start token system to avoid rush; can sell up to only 400 customers per day
BL Soni

Since Monday, 16.10 lakh litre liquor worth Rs 62.55 crore has been sold from 3543 shops in Maharashtra as per the figures available with FPJ on Tuesday night. As tipplers queued up in large numbers, the government has now made it mandatory for the shopkeepers to start token system for the liquor sale and they will have to take every care to avoid gathering of five people in front of the shop. The shopkeeper will have to display the token number and make the announcement to avoid a rush at the counter.

After the government issued revised guidelines for lockdown 3.0, liquor shops in all over Maharashtra have started their operations after the order issued by the respective district collectors. In Mumbai and suburban districts, the liquor shops have reopened while in the adjoining Thane district the shops remained shut in the city while they restarted in rural areas.

Excise Commissioner Kantilal Umap said in Marathwada of the eight districts the liquor shops are still closed in Latur and Osmanabad while in the remaining six districts they are opened. In the Vidarbha region, of the 11 districts Chandrapur, Wardha and Gadchiroli are liquor-free districts but shops remained shut in Nagpur and in the jurisdiction of Akola Municipal Corporation. However, the liquor sale resumed in Gondia, Bhandara, Washim, Buldhana, Amravati, and Yavatmal districts.

In western Maharashtra, shops remained shut in Solapur and Satara while shops are operational in Pune, Ahmednagar, Sangli, and Kolhapur. In Dhule and Nandurbar the tipplers are happy to queue up and get liquor though shops are closed on Nashik and Jalgaon.

In the Konkan region, the shops have reopened in Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg.

Umap informed that the Excise Department has issued an order whereby the liquor shopkeeper has to put in place a mechanism for customers to follow social distancing and each shopkeeper can sell liquor to 400 customers per day only after providing a token.

On the increase in excise duty or imposition of additional cess on the lines of Delhi government, Umap said the excise duty in Maharashtra is quite high compared to other states. ‘’The state cabinet is empowered to take a decision whether to impose ‘’corona cess’’ on the lines of Delhi,’’ he noted.

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