By Sourabha Parida
Bhubaneswar, May 25: Hundreds of tipplers were heartbroken as most of liquor counters went out of stock hours after reopening following two months break and they had to return empty handed after hours of waiting.
Huge rush was seen in front of all liquor shops in the capital city from early morning after news of opening of shops broke out on TV channels and news portals for liquor home delivery. Shop owners had erected barricades to maintain social distancing with display of WhatsApp, mobile number and payment modes.
However, all who waited a few meters away from counters to book their booze did not get liquor as many shops went dry.
Police had to resort to lathi charge near a counter in Kharvel Nagar as the customers flouted social distancing norms and the shop owner sold liquor by hand delivery.
“All our labour went waste. Neither did we get the liquor from the counter nor from the agencies who are making home delivery. It’s very frustrating after a lapse of two months,”said Chinmay Das after returning empty handed from two counters in Bhubaneswar for on spot booking.
People were found gathered near liquor shops to book on the spot and get delivered within minutes following social guidelines. And some alcohol lovers also came forward to volunteer for tipplers unaware of online booking to get their drink.
Most of the customers had to pay delivery charge standing a few metres away from the outlets, which was blatant cheating, said an alcohol lover on condition of anonymity.
Many shops on the outskirts downed their shutter citing out of stock. Then what they did with the stock they had before imposition of lockdown? It is very clear that illegal trading of liquor was rampant during the lockdown, asked another disappointed customer.
On the other hand, some shop owners clarified that they had opened the shops on trial basis to gauge customers’ response. “We will maintain a register for online booking from tomorrow,” said a shop owner.