Lucknow: Samajwadi Party supremo and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on Monday took a potshot at the state government’s decision to open liquor shops in all the three zones amid the coronavirus crisis.
Yadav tweeted a photograph that showed people standing in long queues outside a liquor shop. “Do we have to stand in the same line to achieve the 5 trillion economy?” he wrote. The Samajwadi Party chief also said that be it demonetization or the purchase of liquor, Indians are made to stand in queues. He further asked if this is how the target of 5 trillion dollar economy would be met.
As per the figures released by the excise department, on the very first day of the opening of shops, people bought liquor worth about 225 crore, setting a new state record. On Monday, the average sale of liquor in most districts remained between five to six crores. On a normal day, the sale of English liquor is between 1.25 crore to 1.50 crore in each district.
Sensing the possibility of bulk buying, the UP excise department placed a cap on the individual purchase on liquor for the next few days. Police personnel were also deployed at shops to ensure that law and order is maintained and social distancing is practised. Huge crowds were spotted in several liquor shops across the state with people queuing as early as 8 am at some places.
“For the next three to four days, there will be a cap on the purchase of liquor in the state. At once, a person will be allowed to buy one full bottle, two half bottles, three quarters, two beer bottles and three cans,” Principal Secretary Excise, Sanjay R Bhoosreddy said.
He also conducted an inspection of some liquor shops in the state capital to monitor the implementation of social distancing norms. The state government allowed liquor shops to open in all the three zones from 10 am to 7 pm but alcohol shops in Agra and Meerut remained shut.
The Agra district has been worst-hit by the coronavirus outbreak and has recorded the maximum cases so far. Close to 600 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in Agra and 14 have died. Meanwhile, Meerut has reported 114 Covid-19 positive cases, including six deaths.