Even after Delhi Government levied 70% tax on liquor in the national capital, people continued to queue up in front of wine shops early on Tuesday morning. India entered the third phase of the lockdown on Monday and citing an acute decline in revenue, Chief Minister Kejriwal in a press conference announced that government-approved liquor shops will open in non-effected zones across Delhi.
Notably, liquor and petrol are two commodities which comprise a huge share of revenue collected by the government. Following the lockdown, which was implemented across the country on March 25 amid COVID-19 scare, sale of liquor and tobacco was strictly prohibited amid other restrictions.
Wine shops opened after over a month on Monday and enthusiasts from across the national capital turned up at stores to fill in their stocks. The scene at various locations soon turned dire soon as impatient buyers forgot to follow rules set by the government amid Coronavirus pandemic.
The similar situation was witnessed on Tuesday. Republic TV which reached wine shops in Bengali market area in central Delhi and Filmistan area in north Delhi saw a sea of people crowding in front of wine shops. Social distancing norms were flouted, several of them were not even wearing masks.
Queues, stretching over a kilometre were seen at wine shops. In a situation full of ruckus and chaos, police personal deployed on duty had to resort to lathi-charge to bring in decorum. Meanwhile, in the shop in Central Delhi, the cops were forced to shut the shop after people refused to fall in line.
All this comes as Delhi inches towards the 5000 mark in terms of COVID-19 positive cases. So far 64 deaths have been reported from the national capital. All eleven districts of Delhi have been put under the red zone. There are 97 containment zones in the national capital which has the most number of COVID 19 cases after Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.
The lockdown has severely hit the economy. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday last week had asserted that people will have to learn to live with COVID-19. Sharing statistics, he highlighted that a decline of around 90% was witnessed in terms of revenue collection in Delhi. Following which he announced several relaxations to bring the economy back on track. Sale of liquor is one of them.
(Representative image: PTI)