Home / News / India /  New lockdown guidelines: No relief for tipplers as sale of liquor banned

NEW DELHI : Even as the government gave relief to several industries during the extended lockdown which began from today and will run till May 3, the ministry of home affairs (MHA) today asked district magistrates across India to enforce a strict ban on sale of liquor, gutka and tobacco products.

"There should be strict ban on sale of liquor, gutka, tobacco, etc and spitting should be strictly prohibited," reads the national directives for Covid-19 management. The MHA said these directives shall be enforced by the district magistrate through fines and penal action as prescribed in the Disaster Management Act 2005.

Ever since the nationwide lockdown began from March 25 in the first phase, liquor shops were shut down as part of measures to contain the spread of Covid-19. Retail stores selling essentials are allowed to open.

As all liquor shops being shut, addicts are reporting withdrawal symptoms. A couple of suicide cases were also reported from Kerala where the state government had directed the Excise Department to provide liquor to those with a prescription from a doctor. The Kerala High Court later stayed the state government's order.

Last week, two northeastern states of Assam and Meghalaya permitted retail liquor outlets to open for few hours daily.

Several cases of liquor being sold illicitly is also being reported from different parts of India. Haryana police last week said it had cracked down on bootleggers and arrested 449 people. Over1 lakh bottles of illicit liquor have been seized during lockdown, police said.

Liquor manufacturing association CIBAC has urged Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal to allow phase-wise opening of the alcoholic beverages industry as the sector may face financial difficulties and job losses due to the lockdown.

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