Long queues were spotted outside liquor shops at several places in N. Lashik city since 7 am. As a result, 42-day lockdown period has gone in vain. There was fear of coronavirus spread. There were angry reactions from all spheres of the society over this. Police had to intervene at many places and had to resort to mild lathicharge to disperse tipplers. As a result, the District Collector had to take his decision back within three hours.
Following central government order, the District Collector on Monday morning had decided to open liquor shops on a condition to maintain social distancing norms and other conditions. It had been instructed to take action against liquor shop owners in case of flouting of social distancing norms.
Following order by the District Collector, a total of 450 liquor shops in various parts of the city and district were opened.
Liquorshop owners opened their shops deploying private security guards. However long queues were seen outside all liquor shops. Many tipplers did not wear masks. There were arguments among tipplers at many places. Traffic at many places was jammed due to longer queues. There was a possibility of coronavirus spread due to this. Finally police had to intervene.
The situation was similar outside all liquor shops in Gangapur Road, College Road, Satpur, New Nashik, Trimurti Chowk, Old Nashik, Panchavati, Bhadrakali, Upnagar and Nashik Road area. No tippler was in a mood to listen. Finally, additional police force was called and police resorted to mild lathicharge to disperse the tipplers.
CityCommissioner of Police Vishwas Nangre Patil ordered police to shut liquor shops immediately. Accordingly, police asked to shut all liquor shops around 4 pm to 5 pm. In the evening, the District Collector issued an order asking to shut liquor shops in the district till next order.
Failure of state excise dept
As per orders by central government, state government asked state excise department to table a report regarding reopening of liquor shops in the state. Accordingly, the department tabled calculations only. However, there was no serious thought over its effects. During the meeting with the District Collector, police officials raised queries about the chaos. They also warned about spread of coronavirus.
However, it was assured that liquor shop owners will follow social distancing norms and other rules with deployment of private security guards, but there was a complete chaos across the district after liquor shops were reopened. As a result, state excise department was failed completely, informed some officials.
Citizens react angrily
Central government has declared lockdown to contain spread of coronavirus. During this period, government was thought many times to give permission for sale of essential commodities. People had to face huge inconvenience while buying milk, vegetable, grocery and food grain from ration shops. As many have no money, social organisations distributed food grain and food on large scale. Those who were in queue to get food were also seen in queues outside liquor shops on Monday. People asking how these people got money to buy liquor. They are reacted angrily over this. Many condemned government for this decision.