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Liquor shopkeepers have roped in Swiggy and Zomato and a couple of other on-demand delivery platforms in Maharashtra, excluding Mumbai, where the civic body has not issued any permission for its sale at the counter or home delivery. Of the 10, 791 license holders across the state, 6,027 have started liquor sales on counters and offer home delivery.

The government, from May 4 (when the liquor sale resumed) till May 20, has collected excise duty of over Rs 300 crore. The daily excise collection is ranging between Rs 20 crore and Rs 42 crore, which is showing steady increase. Liquor home delivery has been launched since the last three days in Thane and Navi Mumbai.

A state Excise Department officer told the Free Press Journal, “It is mandatory that liquor shopkeepers strictly ensure social distancing during the lockdown. In the case of home delivery, shopkeepers can rope in Zomato, Swiggy or another platform. The state government is no way involved in it. It is the responsibility and liberty of the shopkeepers to deliver liquor at home by sticking to the guidelines issued by the Excise Department.’’

He informed that customers can place orders via WhatsApp, SMS or call. The shopkeepers will have to display their contact number outside their shops. Making arrangements for delivery will be the retailer's responsibility. But, the retailer can request passes for delivery boys, which can be obtained from offices of the excise superintendent of police and deputy SP.

The Maharashtra government on May 19 issued revised guidelines for lockdown 4.0, which is up to May 31. The government has allowed home delivery of liquor apart from its sale on counters only in permitted areas.

Meanwhile, Swiggy has enabled the online processing and home delivery of alcohol through the Wine Shops category on the Swiggy app. The service went live in Ranchi today after obtaining necessary approvals from the Jharkhand government. Other major cities in the state will be launching it within a week. Swiggy is also in the advanced stages of discussion with multiple state governments to provide support with online processing and home delivery of alcohol, which the company can immediately enable by leveraging its existing technology and logistics infrastructure and nationwide presence.

Swiggy vice president Anuj Rathi said by enabling the home delivery of alcohol in a safe and responsible manner, it can generate additional business for retail outlets while solving the problem of overcrowding, thereby promoting social distancing.

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