Mockery of social distancing in Delhi: Madrush for liquor raises corona alarm

The Delhi Police scrambled to arrange a report and counsel to the AAP authorities that the timing for alcohol sale be prolonged and ample shares maintained at outlets to keep away from huge crowding. It additionally requested retailer house owners to make sure social distancing in any respect prices.

This was after a large number of impatient tipplers in serpentine queues – some stretching as much as three km – jostled and pulled at one another to get maintain of their favorite manufacturers, in complete defiance of social distancing norms.

The mad rush triggered visitors chaos, police motion, political slugfest and fears of a spike in Covid-19 transmissions as 150 of the Delhi’s 859 booze outlets opened in some areas after an extended hole of 40 days.

Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly, stated, “Huge crowds completely broke lockdown norms. There was an open violation of social distancing. Liquor sellers and buyers both are at risk. It can increase coronavirus cases by 10%.”

None aside from the nation’s well being minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan, stated the Delhi authorities rushed into opening liquor outlets at a time the National Capital was nonetheless in the pink zone. “It should review its decision in view of the huge crowds outside these outlets. This increases the risk of Covid-19 spread,” he stated.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal known as the chaos unlucky and stated store house owners must take accountability. “If social distancing is violated, we will shut the shop, seal the area and revoke relaxations,” he stated.

People jostle one another at a liquor store in Sri Niwaspuri in South Delhi on Monday.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Delhi authorities had stated that no more than 5 folks can be allowed to attend exterior a store, whereas masks and social distancing have been obligatory.


The posh locality of C-Block, Vasant Vihar, South Delhi, had had a abandoned look for the reason that day the lockdown was introduced.

But all hell broke free on Monday.

Massive visitors jams lasted two hours as lengthy queues fashioned exterior liquor outlets, prompting residents to name the police.

Similar have been scenes elsewhere in town. Queues began forming at 7 am itself, although outlets have been anticipated to open at 9 am. Many liquor outlets in Mayur Vihar, Krishna Nagar, Karol Bagh, Daryaganj, Paharganj, Kotla village and different areas needed to be shut as cops used power to regulate huge overcrowding. Some additionally tried to barge into outlets.

At Defence Colony, Malviya Nagar and Govindpuri, the day began with lengthy strains, which devolved right into a crush by 10 am, and the police ordered a shutdown by midday.

At Daryaganj, the strains stretched from Delhi Gate to Golcha Cinema.

There have been greater than 600 folks in a line by 11 am. More congregated on the street, and but extra waited throughout the street, having handed over their cash and belief to some in the road.

The love for liquor overrode the final mistrust of handing cash to a stranger, as conversations concerning the lengthy wait for alcohol and troubles at dwelling flowed freely. Many bought crates, whereas others pooled in cash for a style of the a lot missed.

Harish, who got here to the vend early, stated that this was “very much needed” after the 40-day curbs. “We have been stuck at home for weeks. Some alcohol will help,” he stated.

“How long can we stay dry? We are here only for a couple of bottles,” stated Rajesh, a businessman. Yogendra, who works in Daryaganj, stated he had pooled in cash to purchase alcohol. So much of day by day wagers and rickshaw pullers additionally discovered themselves in the road on another person’s dime.

The love for the bottle was additionally obvious from those that travelled lengthy distances to top off.

Inder Kumar and his buddy Satish, property sellers from Geeta Colony, took the latter’s scooter to Laxmi Nagar at 7.45 am. There they discovered a line that was “more than 2 km long”. Undaunted, they crossed the Yamuna and reached the Daryaganj retailer.

Their diligence was rewarded when, at about 10 am, they have been in a position to purchase a dozen bottles of whiskey. “We have to stock up. What if they close the liquor stores tomorrow? I bought some for myself and some for my friends and neighbours,” stated Kumar, whereas balancing the circumstances on the scooter.

At Daryaganj, a few dozen policemen and two PCR vans tried in useless to regulate the group that stored getting larger.

Some even tasted the warmth of the stick, however remained devoted in their wait for the alcohol. By 12.30, the shop was shut down, with the police unable to regulate the group.

Similar scenes performed out at Kashmiri Gate in north Delhi, the place the group surged, prompting the SHO to order the theka to be shut down by 12.30 after threatening to lathicharge the group.

In East Delhi’s Krishna Nagar, the strains started at 6 am, however the retailer was closed at 11 am by the police, as the group refused to observe distancing norms. At Jheel Chowk and Chandar Nagar, the police needed to push crowds again with sticks.

By 1 pm, the East Delhi DCP ordered closure of all liquor shops in the district. According to an order issued by the federal government, liquor outlets have been directed to deploy marshals on the retailers to keep up social distancing. However, only a few retailers might prepare assets for crowd administration.

The authorities had additionally directed 4 state-run businesses, that are accountable to promote liquor, to deploy sufficient marshals at these outlets.


In distinction, Noida noticed extra self-discipline, like at Sector 18 Market. Lines began to kind by 7 am, on the three thekas. With cash in their arms and a smile on their lips, prospects some in their pyjamas stood in serpentine queues inside circles made by the shopkeeper for social distancing.

As quickly because the proprietor opened the shutters, there was jubilation in the air and people who have been standing in entrance began clapping to point out their assist and happiness.

Smriti, a resident of Sector 15, stated that the “stock at home” had completed in the lengthy lockdown.

Also Read | Lockdown 3.0: Chaos on Day 1 as liquor buyers pour out, India sees highest single-day Covid-19 recovery rate
Also Watch | Lockdown 3.0: People line up outside liquor shops, trader’s body upset over reopening

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