Grocery shops may close at noon, but you’ll get booze 24x7 in Ludhiana!
Though one may be hard pressed to find groceries after noon amid the curfew imposed to curb the raging second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, Bacchus lovers are still able to purchase their choicest liquor round the clock on the sly through holes carved in shutters or through back doors.
While the police is coming down hard on all shops dealing with non-essential wares, including groceries, after noon, the liquor vends,which can be seen operating till late night, are somehow escaping their scanner.
The vends draw their shutters in suit with other businesses at the start of curfew but the employees stay inside. Customers slip the money through the hole carved in the shutter and the salesperson pushes out bottles through the same cavity.
Not sure what to purchase? No problem. Some liquor vends also allow customers to enter the shop through the back door and peruse the shelves. For the booze lovers unwilling to risk arrest, some liquor vendors are also offering home delivery.
In order to evade the men in khaki, some ingenious liquor vendors have deployed lookouts to alert them should policemen on patrol be in the vicinity.
Such illicit sale was observed on Ferozepur Road, near Barewal Road, outside the Railway station, Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) Chowk, Shingar Cinema Road, Samrala Chowk, Janakpuri Chowk, Sufiyan Bagh Chowk, Old Jail Road, Amarpura and Transport Nagar.
The light pouring out of the hole in the shutter indicates the outlet is open for business. At CMCH Chowk, it was observed that a liquor vend was conducting business with impunity after curfew, even as a police team deputed on the site turned a blind eye to the establishment.
A policeman deputed near Sufiyan Chowk could be seen peeping through the hole and asking the salesman to switched off the lights.
Commissioner of police Rakesh Agrawal said that sale of liquor had been banned during curfew hours, but some business owners were violating the directions. “FIRs are being lodged daily. We will ask the excise department to cancel license of those violating the curfew,” he said.