Andhra Pradesh

Heavy crowd at liquor outlets

Government decision draws flak

As the government has relaxed the lockdown norms partially and allowed liquor outlets to raise their shutters, huge crowds started gathering an hour before they were scheduled to officially open at 11 am. The same rush was seen till their closure at 7 p.m.

Long queue lines were found in front of every outlet in the city, where people waited patiently braving the hot sun, though maintaining social distance. In view of the one-metre mandatory distance, the crowd moved into the residential areas, where the public felt the pinch. Two lathi-wielding constables were posted at every outlet to manage the crowd, in case it appeared to go out of control.

Token system

Superintendent of Police (Tirupati Urban) A.V. Ramesh Reddy personally visited such crowded spots and instructed the police to maintain order. “We expected the crowd to surge in view of the long gap, but social distancing norms should be adhered in any case to avoid the COVID spread,” he cautioned the staff.

Mr. Reddy also discussed with his excise counterparts the possibility of introducing token system or sale in staggered timings to prevent crowding. He also suggested to them to ensure that the buyers standing in the line wore nose masks compulsorily.

In Kadapa, Congress working president N. Tulasi Reddy flayed the YSRCP regime of lacking commitment to prohibition. “The government is collecting ‘Jagan Service Tax’ (JST) from the poor by hiking prices,” he charged at a media conference.

‘Irresponsible move’

He wondered how the State could earmark ₹1,400 crore for corona control, while planning to earn ₹4,500 crore from sale of liquor. In the same vein, TDP district president R. Sreenivasa Reddy criticised the government for not allowing the hair dressers to open, but permitting the liquor outlets.

“Encouraging alcohol consumption is irresponsible at a time when coronavirus spread is rampant and hence would prove a disaster,” he cautioned.

Moreover, hiking price by 25% would amount to cashing on the common man’s weakness, while advising the government to focus attention on procuring farm produce lying in the field waiting for takers.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 5:25:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/heavy-crowd-at-liquor-outlets/article31505053.ece

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