Home delivery of liquor to start in Punjab from May 7

Chandigarh, May 6 (PTI) Home delivery of liquor will start from May 7 in Punjab with the state excise and taxation department issuing an order for opening of liquor vends on Wednesday.

The liquor stores would be allowed to open only during the curfew relaxation period, officials said.

          Meanwhile, the Punjab government on Wednesday evening changed the curfew relaxation timing to ensure no overcrowding at shops. Now the shops will open at 7 am till 3 pm. Earlier, the relaxation was given from 9 am till 1 pm.

However, the timing of delivery of liquor will be decided by the respective assistant excise and taxation commissioners in consultation with deputy commissioners, the order stated.

Though there is no provision of home delivery of liquor in the Punjab Excise Act 1914 and the Excise Rules, the decision in this regard has been taken to ensure social distancing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it said.

The delivery of liquor at people's doorsteps will be allowed only during the lockdown period, the order said.

Only two litres of liquor will be allowed through home delivery to a buyer against a cash memo.

People deputed for home delivery of liquor will be issued identity cards by the deprtment and they will also carry curfew pass, as per the order.

Home delivery of Punjab Medium Liquor (PML) will not be allowed, it said.

At liquor vends, directions have been issued to ensure adherence to social distancing norms and arrangement of sanitiser, it stated.

Not more than five people will be allowed to stand outside a liquor shop, the order said.

Liquor contractors who have paid 50 per cent of the license fee to the state government will be allowed to open their shops, it said.

The Punjab government had earlier urged the Centre to allow opening of liquor shops in the state to mop up tax revenue.

         Meanwhile, Rupnagar Deputy Commissioner Sonali Giri said with the change in curfew relaxation timings, shops, including liquor vends, could open at 7 am till 3 pm. “ 'The home delivery of liquor can be done from 7 am till 7 pm. If people want to come to liquor vends, then the timing will be 7 am till 3 pm,' she said.

She further said a liquor shop will be sealed if any violation of social distancing norm was found.

Meanwhile, several liquor contractors in Punjab were not keen on starting home delivery of liquor, saying it will increase their cost of operations.

Seeking anonymity, they said they cannot deploy additional staff and that it could encourage bootlegging. PTI CHS VSD KJ