Covid lockdown: Excise department proposes home delivery of liquor in Punjab

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Published: May 5, 2020 8:50 PM

As per the proposal, the home delivery of liquor will be allowed between 1 pm to 6 pm in order to avoid rush at vends as witnessed on Monday across the country, officials said. It will also enable the social distancing norm.

The state cabinet meeting will be held here on Thursday

The Excise and Taxation Department in Punjab has proposed to deliver liquor at home during ongoing coronavirus situation but a final decision on it will be taken at a state cabinet meeting, officials said here on Tuesday. The state cabinet meeting will be held here on Thursday, they said.

The Excise and Taxation Department has given a proposal to the government on home delivery of liquor, they said, however, adding that a final call would be taken by the state cabinet on the matter. As per the proposal, the home delivery of liquor will be allowed between 1 pm to 6 pm in order to avoid rush at vends as witnessed on Monday across the country, officials said. It will also enable the social distancing norm, they said.

The relaxation in curfew in Punjab is given for four hours from 9 am to 1 pm across the state during which all shops are open. The state government has incurred a loss of Rs 550 crore due to excise duty as vends have been shut for more than a month, officials said.

The Excise and Taxation department plans to issue a curfew pass to an employee of the liquor vend contractor to deliver the liquor at home, officials said. The mobile numbers given by the contractor will be announced or circulated thus one can give a call at these numbers and get the delivery done, they said.

However, the final guidelines on the proposal will be issued once the state cabinet clears the proposal, they said.
The department’s proposal has met with strong resistance from officials within and also the contractors as they apprehend that this will encourage bootlegging and it is also against the excise rules as liquor can be only sold from retail vends and not otherwise, sources said.

The state government is likely to increase the price of liquor by imposing COVID-19 cess, sources said. The Department of Excise and Taxation is with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh who had already requested the central government to allow the sale of liquor in the state amid the extended lockdown.

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