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Coronavirus lockdown | Liquor companies urge Centre to allow alcohol sale

The Indian Spirits and Wine Association of India has informed the government that the illegal sale of alcohol has increased in the country due to the lockdown

April 09, 2020 / 06:38 PM IST

Several big liquor labels in India, such as Bacardi and Remy Martin, have come together and requested the Centre to allow the sale of alcoholic beverages at least for a limited time daily, albeit while ensuring all norms of social distancing are followed.

With the announcement of the 21-day nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus, the government put a temporary hold on the sale of all goods, barring essentials such as food supply and medicines.

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However, due to this temporary ban of the sale of liquor, illegal sale of alcohol has increased, according to the Indian Spirits & Wine Association of India (ISWAI) – the body that represents the country’s biggest liquor companies. An Economic Times report states the ISWAI has written a letter detailing its concerns to the Consumer Affairs Ministry, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), and the NITI Aayog.

Elaborating on this further, Amrit Kiran Singh, Chairman, ISWAI, said: “Food is an essential commodity and alcohol is classified as food under the Food Safety & Standards Act of 2006. The black market is operating in the vacuum created by legal alcohol retail shops being closed, which is becoming an additional menace for the police force.”

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Meanwhile, ISWAI has highlighted that alcohol consumption has no negative health implication with regard to the novel coronavirus disease and also assured that bars and restaurants will continue to stay shut.

Notably, the West Bengal government has already allowed the home delivery of alcoholic beverages until the lockdown period continues. To home-deliver alcohol, liquor shops will have to obtain passes from the police. Each establishment will be given a maximum of three passes.

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Moneycontrol News
first published: Apr 9, 2020 06:38 pm

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