Social distancing was maintained at all the five outlets selling liquor in the diamond city on Monday
SURAT: With liquor permit shops starting sale from Monday, all roads led to the watering holes since early in the morning as parched Bacchus lovers queued up outside the outlets to collect their token numbers, across the state. It should be noted that in the dry state, liquor can be purchased only from these permit shops on health grounds.
While in Surat, up to 200 tokens were distributed at the five outlets on Monday morning, the latecomers had to return empty-handed. In morning only 100 tokens were given but due to rush the number of token were increased up to 200. Around 5,000 health liquor permits are active in the city and the holders were desperately waiting for the liquor shops to start.
Piyush Shah, an owner of a hotel in Vadodara that has a liquor permit shop said, “Sixty-eight customers turned up at the shop to buy liquor on Monday. Over 100 units were sold and we have asked the others to come on Tuesday. We ensured social distancing at the shop and there was no chaos throughout the day.”
In Rajkot, however, social distancing went for complete toss as tipplers made a mad rush at the four wine shops at the prominent hotels. Many permit holders had to return disappointed as shop ran out of stock. “There was heavy rush and no social distancing. I could not get my stock, but I will try after two days,” said permit holder, Premdeep Vora.
While the permit holders rushed with bags in hand in Surat, they were only issued tokens and asked to return after some time. “The tokens were issued to avoid crowding and maintain social distancing. Since the shops were closed for two months, heavy rush was expected,” said an employee at one of the shops.
“I have developed habit of waking up early during lockdown since I had to go to purchase essential items shops of which remained open only up to 11 am. This helped today as well as I went to buy liquor as early as 10 am. I got my token after standing in queue for quite some time,” said Vijay Patel, a permit holder.
A few permit holders were given tokens for the next day as well. Those who collected tokens in morning were seen visiting the shops till evening in accordance with their turn.
“A number of permit holders were disappointed as they were denied their quota for the months of April and May. I did not collect my quota since March, so I suffer loss of three months,” said Satish Agarwal, a businessman in the diamond city.
“The permit shops started selling liquor from Monday after lockdown of two months. There was rush at the shop but the selling continued smoothly at the five outlets in the city,” said S R Vasava, superintendent, prohibition department.
(Inputs by Tushar Tere and Nimesh Khakhariya)