Long queues of booze lovers was a common sight outside liquor shops in Delhi after the government allowed such stores to open from May 4. The long line made the job of authorities harder as the social distancing guidelines, in place to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, went for the toss.
Now the Delhi government has found a way to stop the crowds from gathering outside liquor stores. The Arvind Kejriwal government on Thursday started an e-token system under which customers would be given a specific time for purchasing liquor at a particular store. This would limit the number of people gathering at the store in violation of social distancing norms.
The government released a web link – www.qtoken.in – where people can register and get be designated specific time for purchasing liquor after they fill out the personal details.
People will be required to furnish the address of a liquor shop in their area along with their mobile number and other details. The e-tokens will be sent on the mobile phones of the registered persons, the government said in an official statement.
The person then can take the e-token to the designated liquor shop in their area on a specified time and get the booze. While the Delhi government had allowed the opening of 200 liquor shops run by civic bodies but only 50 opened due to overcrowding, the statement said.
The e-token system will cut down on waiting time in long queues by specifying the time for each e-coupon holder to buy liquor at a shop. It will stop overcrowding at the store and will help maintain social distancing.
The sale of liquor was allowed from Monday after the relaxation in lockdown guidelines. The Delhi government has raised the rates of liquor were raised by 70% of maximum retail price on Tuesday. It has, however, failed to deter people from gathering in large number at the shops, in violation of social distancing norms amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The liquor stores were allowed to open after the Central government allowed relaxations in Lockdown 3.0 which started from May 4.
After violations of social distancing were reported, the Excise department directed the four corporations dealing in retailing of liquor to take measures like e-tokens, barricading and deployment of marshals to ensure that such norms were followed at the shops.