Mumbai: The proposed lifting of ban from selling liquor will continue in the state. Fearing a backlash from various sections, Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope backtracked from his statement in a day where he had stated that there should be no ban on liquor stores if social distancing is adhered to.
He clarified on Tuesday that the state has no plan to give permission for liquor sale in the state. When the minister indicated earlier that liquor shops will open, he didn't specify whether it was a policy statement or his personal view. The minister however later tweeted that a decision on this will be announced.
However, Tope was forced to eat crow as the state government sought the opinion of the department of Law and Judiciary about allowing liquor sale during lockdown and when will the Centre issue revised guidelines. The state government has also evoked the epidemic act following the spread of coronavirus.
Senior bureaucrat told FPJ,’’ The government awaits opinion from the Department of Law and Judiciary. Thereafter, the proposal will be moved by the Department of Excise which will be cleared by the state cabinet. This is not enough as the Centre’s approval will be also essential. ’’
A fortnight ago, the Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies had urged Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to allow resumption of their business. However, no decision has been made yet. The bureaucrat informed that even in the event of shops opening collectors will have to adhere to the lockdown norms.