The ministry of home affairs (MHA) today issued a guideline asking district magistrates across India to enforce a strict ban on the sale of liquor, gutka and tobacco products.
In its notification, the MHA said, “There should be strict ban on sale of liquor, gutka, tobacco etc. and spitting should be strictly prohibited.”
It further said that all these directives shall be enforced by the district magistrate through fines and penal action as prescribed in the Disaster Management Act 2005.
Liquor shops all over the country were shut down to contain the spread of coronavirus ever since the nationwide came into force from March 25. Due to closure of liquor shops, many addicts suffering from withdrawal symptoms and few tipplers committed suicide in Kerala forcing the state government to direct the Excise Department to provide liquor to people with prescriptions from a doctor. However, the Kerala High Court later stayed the order.
Last week, Assam and Meghalaya allowed the opening of liquor outlets for fixed hours with a condition that customers and owners would adhere to social distancing at all times and that hand sanitizers would be provided to the customers with minimum staff in the shops.