Mad rush at liquor shops

People queueing up outside a liquor shop in Hyderabad.   | Photo Credit: NAGARA GOPAL

A hotspot for regulars of alcohol, as soon as the announcement of lockdown in the State went on air around 2.30 p.m. was liquor shops where they landed within minutes.

They were buying their choice of brands in dozens, almost half emptying the shops by 4 p.m. The bulk purchasers were found to be hoarders who sold the bottles in black market. The rush subsided gradually after 5.30 p.m. when the government came up with a fresh announcement that liquor shops will also be allowed to be kept open from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. like all other trade from Wednesday. The shops also displayed flexis with the timings of business.

Until then, the crowds had swelled at the shops requiring the intervention of police. Long queues started forming within no time of announcement of lockdown as shopkeepers kept expressing helplessness to meet the demand for popular brands and handing over to the disappointed customers whatever was left. The salesmen across the counters went on telling everyone that they can try their choice of brands after a few hours when the next consignment of stock was expected.

The crowding at shops contributed to traffic jams caused by people rushing back home on learning about lockdown. The buses were full and two and four wheelers filled the roads for long stretches.

A shop owner said they expected imposition of lockdown but not as early as Wednesday. They felt it might be only after Eid on Friday. No one made any attempt to indent larger load in shops.

He said the window of 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. for business was too small as it might not even fetch them a revenue to break even. It was not the right time for business of this nature because a large chunk of customers were daily wage earners who get money at the end of their work.

Other than liquor shops, kirana and some small outlets made brisk business. The rates of essentials like tomatoes went up as the stock of items in shops dwindled.

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Printable version | Jun 16, 2021 7:29:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/mad-rush-at-liquor-shops/article34537925.ece

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