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Kerala, Punjab enlist liquor as ‘essential item’ in lockdown


Tejaswini Thote | Mar 27, 2020 10:37

Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered for the extension of lockdown for 21 more days across the country, Kerala government finally decided to shut down all the liquors shops, which were allowed to remain operational across the state till March 31st by the state government.

However, all the shops selling liquor were ordered to shut down in Kasargod district due to its highest record of worst affected Coronavirus patients. As per reports, Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan said, “Liquor shops will remain open. We have had some bad experiences when the government stopped the sale of liquor. It will create many social issues.”

The selling of alcohol as ‘essential item’ in Kerala was still continuing when the lockdown was supposed to end on March 31. When the media asked Vijayan what made the government to enlist alcohol in ‘essential items,’ he said, “The peculiar situation prevailing in the state demands such a measure.” However, bars were not allowed to remain operational as it would have defeated the objective of social distancing.”

The highest source of revenue for Kerala is generated through the selling of liquor. The state has 598 bars, 357 beer parlours and among 301 liquor outlets, Kerala State Corporation owns 265, while the consumer federation owns the remaining 36 shops.

Apart from Kerala, Punjab government had also cited alcohol in ‘essential items’ and had allowed the shops to operate till March 31. However, after the 21-day lockdown, it is still uncertain whether the shops will be closed or not.

Also read: Coronavirus: Citizens across India practice social distancing to buy necessities