Delhi govt orders reopening of 66 private liquor shops on odd-even basis

FILE PIC: Long queue for liquor was witnessed on almost all the wine shops in Delhi (Photo- Sanjay K Sharma)
After the Delhi government allowed all shops in market and shopping complexes to operate during the fourth phase of the lockdown, in force since May 18, the excise department on Friday allowed 66 private liquor shops to reopen and operate from 9 am to 6.30 pm. 

However, liquor shops in malls will remain closed in accordance with the government's order. All government liquor vends have already been permitted to open in the city, except those in malls and containment zones.

An excise department official said only 66 private liquor stores had so far complied with the government's order and they had been given permission to reopen. The department had asked the owners of private liquor shops to follow the odd-even rule and they had given an undertaking that their outlets wouldn't fall under coronavirus (Covid-19) containment zones.

According to the Delhi government's order, the private liquor vends cannot open without conducting monthly stock record (MSR) activity. Only after submission of the MSR compliance report and the undertaking, the shops will be allowed to open on odd-even basis. In case, any private shop is opened on the basis of false information, the license will be cancelled, it added.

On May 4, the government had allowed the reopening of around 150 state-run liquor shops with the beginning of the third phase of coronavirus-forced lockdown, resulting in long queues at these outlets.

Later, the government had introduced e-token system under which customers are given a specific date and time to buy liquor in order to avoid overcrowding and long queues.

Of 863 liquor shops in Delhi, 475 are run by four government corporations Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation, Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation, Delhi State Civil Supplies Corporation and Delhi Consumer's Cooperative Wholesale Store while 389 are owned by private individuals.

Of these 389, about 150 are located in shopping malls and not allowed to open till May 31 when the fourth phase of nationwide lockdown ends.

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