In a bizarre development on Tuesday, school teachers were roped in alongside policemen to regulate the chaotic queues outside the wine shops in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. Reportedly, some people were pushing and shoving one another violating social distancing measures to buy alcohol. The AP government has imposed an overall 75% hike in the prices of liquor to discourage alcohol consumption. Currently, there are 1,717 confirmed novel coronavirus cases in Andhra Pradesh out of which 589 persons have recovered while 36 casualties have been reported.
Speaking to the media, Bhaskar Rao- Assistant Commissioner of the Excise Department stated that 272 out of 311 alcohol shops in Visakhapatnam district are functioning in the state. He defended the deployment of teachers at these shops. According to him, the teachers distribute tokens to the customers who can arrive at the shop when his token number comes.
Bhaskar Rao remarked, "Out of a total 311 alcohol shops in the district, 272 shops are functioning in the district. Due to heavy crowd, government teachers were deployed at wine shops to manage the crowd. The teacher distributes tokens to those who line up to buy and consumers can arrive at the shop at the time when his token number comes."
One of the teachers deployed at a wine shop in Anarkapalli town in the Visakhapatnam district stated that he was asked to ensure that social distancing was maintained among the buyers. At the same time, he observed that the teachers were feeling guilty to do this duty. Condemning this move, he urged the government to not place them at wine shops. At another wine shop in Vishakhapatnam, a group of women held a protest complaining that wine shops were allowed to open for 7 hours while vegetable markets functioned for only 3 hours.
A teacher deployed at a wine shop in Anarkapalli said, "See, teacher profession means service, we are ready to do service anywhere. But we are feeling guilty to do duty at wine shops. All teachers are condemning this. We are ready to do any service that the government needs. But we request not to place us at wine shops."