Coronavirus Lockdown: Under Conditions, Assam and Meghalaya are Opening their Wine ShopsGokul Saravanan (Author) Published Date : Apr 13, 2020 09:05 IST
The NorthEastern states of India are all set to open liquor shops from Monday. Amidst the fear of contagious COVID-19 outbreak, Assam and Meghalaya have decided to get their liquor shops in action for the good of the people who are addicted to alcohol.
The Coronavirus outbreak in India forced the government to enforce a complete lockdown since March 24, 2020. Though the lockdown was previously marked only for 21 days, the government has planned to extend it for another couple of weeks as many states are still counting positive cases of Coronavirus.
The University of Oxford enlisted the lockdown by India in its Government Stringency Index. Thought it is looking good at one side, the lockdown has brought a devastating effect on the other side, especially to the poor and daily waged population of the nation, and the other is the alcohol-addicted population.
Since the lockdown, many cases were reported to the emergency helplines about the no food situation for the poor and suicide attempts and domestic violence by the drunk addicts. Tamil Nadu has reported many suicide attempts cases in the state due to the non-availability of alcohol. Among the cases, some died of home-made toxic liquors, a couple of persons died of drinking paint-varnish, and another person in Coimbatore died of drinking the hand sanitizer solution. However, the state of Tamil Nadu hasn't taken any decision to open their liquor shops in this lockdown period.
To overcome the negative effect of the alcohol addiction side, states like Kerala previously planned to sell liquors for only prescribed persons as the southern states have faced enough issues from the drinkers' community. The Kerala government also planned to sell liquors through online portals. However, the High Court of Kerala had put a stay on the decision of the Kerala government for selling alcohol at this pandemic period.
Unlike the rest of the states of India, the Northeastern states have reported fewer Coronavirus positive cases in the region. Hence the people of the state demanded the government supply liquor. Now, like ending the hard situation prevailing among the drinkers' population of the state of Assam and Meghalaya, the state government has approved their wine shops to work under some conditions.
On April 12, S K Medhi, the Additional Commissioner of Excise, in a letter to the Deputy Commissioners of the state of Assam, delivered the state government's order to open the liquor shops from April 13, Monday.
According to the government order, all the IMFL OFF/CS OFF outlets should only work from 10 am to 5 pm; that too, only on permitted days. The workforces in the outlets, warehouses, distilleries, and breweries should only go with minimum numbers. The permitted shops should ensure the social distancing between the customers and hand sanitizers should be provided for both customers and staff for handing cash and bottles.
In Meghalaya, the state's excise department has ordered an alteration in the working time of wineshops. According to the order of the Meghalaya government, the shops and warehouses should only work between 9 am to 4 pm. Only one person for a household would be permitted to purchase. Like other states, the free movement from one locality to another has been prohibited.
The order of both the government mentioned a cancelation of excise license under any violations of guidelines mentioned by the department of excise of the state of Assam and Meghalaya.