Facing flak, BJP-ruled Haryana, HP shut liquor shops

Chandigarh/Shimla, March 27 (IANS) After public criticism and the media flak, the Chief Ministers of Haryana and Himachal pradesh decided to shut the liquor vends from Friday.

The media had highlighted how liquor shops across Haryana and Himachal Pradesh were operational more in numbers than milk vending shops during the lockdown of 21 days announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 25 in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

In Haryana, the Manohar Lal Khattar government announced to shut down all the liquor shops from the midnight of Friday till April 14.

Likewise, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur admitted that he was ordering the closing of all liquor shop owing to public criticism.

“Liquor vends will now be closed during curfew across the state,” Thakur tweeted.

Earlier, the Jai Ram Thakur government had decided to keep the liquor shops during the statewide curfew relaxation.

An order by Deputy Commissioner of Kullu, Richa Verma, of March 26 reads: “The private establishments as mentioned on clause 3 shall remain open from 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. and shops or stores selling pesticides and wines/liquor are also hereby included in the list of essential services (during curfew/lockdown).”

On being asked about a huge rush being seen outside the liquor shops during the lockdown, Haryana Chief Minister Khattar on Thursday told the media there was no move to close down the liquor shops.

Congress leader and former Haryana minister Randeep Surjewala on Thursday criticised the BJP-JJP regime for keeping liquor shops open.

“Instead of dawa (medicine), the government is promoting daru (liquor). This is highly unfortunate,” Surjewala said in a statement.

Both Haryana and Himachal Pradesh went into lockdown well ahead of the whole country.



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