Pune: Amid a sharp rise in spread of COVID-19 in Pune and the subsequent weekend lockdown in the district to contain it, Pune’s civic body recently relaxed COVID-19 rules for selling liquor in the city.
Pune Mayor Murlidhar Mohol on his Twitter wrote, “Shops selling liquor in the limits of Pune Municipal Corporation are permitted to remain only for home delivery from Monday to Friday between 7 am to 6 pm.” It has permitted wine shops to sell liquor as per the License issued to concerned shops in the city.
From April 2, all liquor shops in the city were asked to shut to curtail the further spread of novel virus. However, the excise department has been hit by huge revenue loss. Last year too, the state excise department allowed the home delivery of alcohol but received little response. This year, people can order in given specific timings. The delivery charges for the same are unknown.
According to various reports, Maharashtra earns Rs 25,500 crore from sale and excise duty on various types of liquor, beer and wine per annum. However, daily average revenue is of Rs 78 crore on a normal day.
The Maharashtra government last year faced a huge revenue loss that is estimated to be around Rs 40,000 crore due to lockdown. Thus, the expert panel was tasked with measures to help revive the economy. Following relaxations in lockdown norms last year, long queues of tipplers were witnessed outside standalone liquor shops in Pune. Thus, to avert the overcrowding, the administration has allowed home delivery of the liquor for alcoholics.
Meanwhile, all establishments apart from medical shops, are shut from last week amid the rising cases of COVID-19 in the district. The district on Sunday recorded 12,377 new cases, the highest till date. With this, the progressive count of COVID-19 in the district stood at 6,48,393. Also, 87 people died amid the contagion on Sunday of which 48 were from Pune city (Pune Municipal Corporation) followed by 19 in Pimpri Chinchwad (Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation).
Also, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation recently allowed home delivery of alcohol in Mumbai to avoid crowding at liquor shops in the city.