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Odisha’s plan of home delivery of liquor goes for a toss

Police deployed infront of a liquor shop as liquor sale is available only online in Bhubaneswar from May 25, 2020.

Police deployed infront of a liquor shop as liquor sale is available only online in Bhubaneswar from May 25, 2020.   | Photo Credit: BiswaranjanRout

People could not find any application platform to order liquor online and shop owners also insisted on offline selling

The Odisha government’s plan for home delivery of liquor failed to take off with tipplers queueing up before shops to buy alcohol on Monday after a gap of two months.

The State government allowed home delivery of liquor by the existing on and off shop licensees situated in areas other than containment zones and shopping malls by amending the relevant provisions under the Odisha Excise Rules, 2017.

The initiative was to have started from May 24 by retailers directly or through reputed food aggregators, standard technology platforms and delivery service providers.

The government increased the maximum retail price of all types of foreign liquor and beer by 50% over the prevailing MRP of last year (2019-20). It announced that the revenue generated from the sale would go towards the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

The Excise Department said that two food aggregators, Zomato and Swiggy, had applied for permission to participate in the home delivery. Permission was granted to Zomato to operate in the Municipal Corporations of Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Berhampur as well as Puri Municipality and to Swiggy in the Municipal Corporations of Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Berhampur and Rourkela.

Despite massive preparation, people could not find any application platform to order liquor online. Shop owners also insisted on selling offline. Till Sunday afternoon, no proper solution was found and on Monday morning, people queued up before shops.

“There is no stringent social distancing policy in force now. People are roaming in the market freely. The government too eased lockdown restrictions considerably. Under these circumstances there is no reason for the continuation of restrictions around liquor shops,” said Prakash Naik, a resident of Unit-9 area of the city.

After footages of long queues were shown on local television channels, police swung into action, clearing the crowd before shops and threatening to seal the retail counters.

As the shops remained closed during the past two months, there were instances of smuggling. Gajapati, Ganjam, Mayurbhanj and Angul district police seized hundreds of litres of liquor procured illegally.

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Printable version | Jul 12, 2020 6:50:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/odishas-plan-of-home-delivery-of-liquor-goes-for-a-toss/article31668492.ece

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