10:08 GMT30 September 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): The Indian government seems to be assessing the worsening situation and whether it requires extending or ending the lockdown with some caveats. It is scheduled to last until 3 May and as per the current guidelines only essential services are allowed to function.

    A legislator in the Indian state of Rajasthan has suggested that restrictions imposed on liquor sales are actually affecting the economy while proving hazardous to the public as well due to consumption of less than reputable brands.

    In a letter written to State Chief Ashok Gehlot, party legislator Bharat Singh Kundanpur demanded the opening of liquor shops while suggesting: “If the COVID-19 virus can be removed by washing one's hands with alcohol then by drinking alcohol, it would clear it from one’s body as well".

    Lawmaker Kundanpur of the state’s ruling Congress Party represents the Sangod area in the Rajasthan state legislature. He has also highlighted the revenue loss the state is incurring. 

    "The demand for alcohol has shot up since the lockdown was imposed and the closure of liquor vendors has affected the state's economy as well as led to the manufacturing and sale of local liquor", he stated.  

    To substantiate his logic, Kundanpur also cited in the letter recent media reports from the state."Two youths lost their eyesight and later lost their lives after consuming local made liquor. While the state government has increased the excise duty on alcohol to make up for lost revenue due to the lockdown".

    Kundanpur further stated that Rajasthan's target of generating INR 125 billion ($1.6 billion) from the sale of alcohol seems to be unachievable so liquors shops should be opened in order to generate revenue. 

    Speaking to Sputnik, the lawmaker explained the need to save the lives of citizens who are shifting to locally made or poisonous liquor and the increase in the sale of illicit alcohol.

    "A regular customer will take alcohol due to which the sale of illicit liquor will increase tremendously. Several cases come forward on a daily basis. The reason behind writing the letter was taking the revenue part in mind which forms the backbone of the state economy", Kundanpur said. 

    He also said the health of the general public is important as people are buying it from the mafia at any rate and harming their health.

    Earlier, another lawmaker, Balwan Poonia, from the state had written a letter to the state chief mentioning the advantages the liquor mafia are making from this lockdown.

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    Tags:
    letter, lockdown, COVID-19, Economy, lawmaker, Rajasthan, illicit trade, Liquor, alcohol, India, New Delhi
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