19:41 GMT30 September 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Calls for opening liquor stores are growing louder as people confined in their homes continue to count the days under lockdown, which has been imposed from 24 March to 15 April in order to curb the coronavirus pandemic.

    With liquor stores shut across India amid the coronavirus pandemic, a desperation call for booze led to an illicit, but innovative, hack: a liquor mafia in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has installed a hand pump over barrels of booze.

    While hand pumps are still a common sight in Indian villages, the booze-dispensing hand pump took the policemen by surprise, as they uprooted it and found barrels of liquor buried in the ground.

    ​The liquor mafia was operating their illegal business in the woods of Jhansi city.

    Police raided the area after receiving a tipoff from villagers and held two women, who were allegedly operating the hand pump and taking care of the sales.

    States Resume Liquor Sales

    The demand for booze has forced various state governments to open liquor shops after several people showed withdrawal symptoms.

    The north-eastern states of Assam and Meghalaya have decided to open liquor shops for seven hours from Monday despite the nationwide lockdown.

    In Assam, wholesale warehouses, bottling plants, distilleries and breweries will also function apart from liquor shops. In Meghalaya state, wine shops will be open from 13 to 17 April.

    Having the highest consumption of liquor in India, Kerala state already ordered the sale of alcohol on doctor’s prescription as suicide cases increased in the state due to withdrawal symptoms in people back in March.

    Kerala has the highest number of alcoholics in the country, with 1.6 million consuming it on a daily basis. The state government has also asked the Excise Department to provide free counselling to those with withdrawal symptoms in its de-addiction centres.

    The Indian states of Karnataka and Bihar are also mulling opening liquor vendors.


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