April 11: As the Corona cases spiral in Mumbai and partial lockdown is in operation, good sense has prevailed over the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) which issued an order on Friday allowing home delivery of wine and liquor in Mumbai, though restricted from 7am-8 pm and with the delivery executives strictly following Covid protocols, writes Subhash Arora
The order has been issued ostensibly to allow home delivery of alcohol in Mumbai to avoid crowding at liquor vends in the city. As per the BMC directive, licensed liquor shops can provide home delivery service between 7:00 am to 8:00 pm. Customers are not allowed to visit shops to buy alcohol during lockdown.
Mumbai is under a weekend lockdown from 8 pm on Friday until 7 am on Monday in a bid to contain the virus which has made Maharashtra a State with runaway cases of Covid-19 and highest in India, making the State government consider a complete lockdown if the situation does not improve soon. The weekend lockdown curbs will continue till 30 April.
According to the BMC order, issued on Friday, shops with a valid licence have been allowed home delivery of indigenous alcoholic drinks and Indian-made foreign liquor. However, these cannot be sold at the counter and only foreign liquor can be purchased on the counter of the shops.
Also Read : Mumbai Gears up for smooth Home Delivery of Wine and Beer
The BMC has limited the hours of home delivery, saying the service will only be allowed between 7 am- 8 pm. Satyam Savla, Director of Juben Wines with retail shops in Juhu (outside J W Marriott Hotel) and Oshiwara, says, ‘the retail shops were closed from Tuesday to Friday amidst a lot of confusion. But Friday's order was clear that the home delivery will be allowed during the lockdown.’
Also Read : Supreme Court suggests Home Delivery of Liquor during Covid Pandemic
Although the Retailer’s Associations in Mumbai are taking up their grievances to the government as it spells doom for small businesses, he concedes that the order would bring cheers to those wine and liquor retailers who organised home delivery when it was allowed earlier last year. In fact, Juben Wines had been on the front-foot then and engaged 4 delivery boys as soon as the order was issued. He has now taken this number to 10 and is in a good position to cover Mumbai for home delivery. In fact, he claims his business as that of other retailers like Living Liquidz and The Wine Park who have organised home delivery, would have seen a jump in the business on Saturday and Sunday.
For everyday there is no sales in Mumbai, the government (BMC) tends to lose Rs. 50 crores in taxes, with the monthly collection being about Rs. 1500 crores. Thus, he adds, the order helps the government stay afloat as well.
Also Read : Liquor Shops in India to open with Conditions from May 4
This brings us to an interesting situation. Why not open home delivery service completely and permanently? With the Liquor Permits that need to be made for every delivery, it is not impossible to keep a check on the underage buyers. The convenience factor, especially for women and those with restricted physical movement, can bring cheers to many and more revenues for the State government. Maharashtra has been generally considered pro-active in this sector and could set up a model policy that would allow home delivery regularly- followed by online sales which is a step away in modernising the sales of wine and liquor.
If you Like this article please click on the Like button