Fear of Covid-19, the strong crown rate in liquor does not deter tippers

NEW DELHI: Undeterred by the threat of infection or the 70 percent 'special crown rate' applied to alcohol, hundreds of tipplers queued outside stores in the national capital for the second consecutive day on Tuesday, keeping police alert.

Long queues formed outside the stalls in Krishna Nagar and Vishwas Nagar, and large numbers of policemen stood outside to handle the crowd and ensure social distancing.

In some places, such as central Delhi, although liquor stores were closed, paramilitary personnel with batons were also deployed to keep the crowd at bay.

About 150 government-run liquor stores were allowed to open from 9 am to 6.30 pm according to the latest closing relaxations allowed by the ministry of internal affairs.

On Monday, many liquor stores pulled down their blinds after the crowds turned rebellious, showing little concern for social estrangement. Late in the evening, the Delhi government imposed a 70 percent special crown fee on liquor sales. The new rate is applicable from Tuesday.

The Delhi Police Special Branch has also prepared a report that suggests extending the hours of liquor sales in Delhi after the chaos outside the shops on Monday.

To make sure he got his liquor stock, Bharat Kumar, a Burari resident, stayed out of the liquor store from 8am, the store opens at 9am. But there were many even ahead of him.

I was in the liquor queue since 8 in the morning. Despite this, it took me an hour and a half to buy three bottles of liquor, he said.

When asked about the government's decision to impose a strong 'crown fee' to discourage drinkers, he said: It will not affect us. People will get liquor from Gurgaon, Noida and.

But there were many who still could not buy liquor for the second day.

I looked for some shops in Krishna Nagar but there were long lines of around 400-500 people. Here, the store has not been opened and the police are sending us back. It is not fair, the government has raised the price so much and there are still problems if you try to buy it, said Raj Kumar, 38, who had come to a liquor store in Shakarpur, east of Delhi.

Ramesh, who declined to share his middle name, said he was trying his luck after failing to buy bottles of liquor at nearby stores due to the large crowd.

Yesterday, I waited two hours in a queue outside a store, but the police closed it after the crowd turned rebellious, Ramesh said.

Rajbir Singh, in his forties, tried his luck at a liquor store behind Regal Cinema in central Delhi, but failed.

I only have one plug every fortnight. But I haven't had that for a long time, Singh said.