The tipplers in Rajasthan will continue to get their supply of liquor even as the state would be under lockdown for a fortnight. The Rajasthan government issued an instruction to this effect on Monday afternoon.
On Monday morning, people woke up to learn that the Rajasthan government has imposed a lockdown till May 3. The guidelines for the lockdown issued on Sunday midnight stated that only shops selling vegetables, milk, medicines and groceries would be allowed to operate apart from petrol pumps.
The liquor shops that opened in the morning saw a large number of tipplers making a beeline to the various shops to buy their stock, fearing the liquor shops would be shut during the period of lockdown.
But within two-three hours after the liquor shops were opened, the police forced the liquor shop owners to pull down their shutters. This was because there was no mention of any relaxation for liquor shops. Those who managed to buy their liquor were seen selling it for a premium and making a profit of up to Rs 200 per bottle.
Soon, the excise department officials were summoned by the finance department and the lockdown guidelines were amended. The amended guidelines allowed the liquor shops to operate during lockdown hours but under the stipulated time. This news was received with great joy and the tipplers rushed to the shops to buy their stocks.
What is surprising is that liquor has been considered an essential commodity and its sale during the stipulated hours was allowed. During the last lockdown, the liquor shops were closed with specific instructions.
The state government decided to allow the liquor shops to function as the state government hopes to generate revenue of Rs 13,500 crore through the sale of liquor. The state government suffered heavily during the lockdown in the state last year when the liquor shops remained closed.
The state government was keen on a strict guideline for the second lockdown period, but the legislators and the members of the Lok Sabha urged Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot to be a little liberal as there are thousands across the state who would be left starving as there would be no jobs for them.
Earlier, the Rajasthan government had imposed a night curfew in the entire state from April 16. Rajasthan recorded over 6,000 fresh cases in the past 24 hours with 42 fresh deaths added to the total tally.
Rajasthan observing public discipline fortnight
After considerable deliberations, it was decided to call the lockdown period Anushashan Pakhwada where the people would be asked to discipline themselves and follow the COVID-appropriate behaviour. Earlier, the weekend lockdown imposed by the government was successful and the people cooperated with the administration in following the guidelines. But a large number of positive cases on Saturday and Sunday left no alternative for the government other than to impose a lockdown.
Guidelines for the fortnight
The ‘Anushashan Pakhwada’ (public discipline fortnight) came into effect from 5 am on Monday and will remain in force till 5 am on May 3.
Following is the guideline issued by the government:
- All workplaces, businesses and markets, including general activities, will be restricted during the period.
- Essential services workers will be exempted from the restrictions.
- Government officials, people going to and coming from airports, bus stands, railway stations, metro stations will be allowed for movement.
- Vegetable and fruit vendors will be allowed to sell till seven in the evening.
- Electronic and print media personnel will also be exempted upon production of I-cards.
- Those entering Rajasthan will have to show a negative RT-PCR report issued 72 hours prior to the travel.
- Vendors will be allowed to distribute newspapers from 4 am to 8 am.
- All educational and coaching institutes will too remain shut till April 30.
- The number of guests in private functions, marriages and other social gatherings has been restricted to 50.
- Not more than 20 persons will be allowed for the funeral.
- The government had also ordered the closure of cinema halls, multiplexes and amusement parks.
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