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In Assam and Meghalaya, liquor shops will open from today for 7 hours daily

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New Delhi: Assam and Meghalaya have decided to open liquor shops in the states for seven hours from Monday amid the nationwide lockdown to arrest the coronavirus spread.

In Assam, aside from liquor shops, wholesale warehouses, bottling plants, distilleries and breweries shall also remain open on permitted days while the wine shops in Meghalaya will be open from 13 to 17 April.

In a notification issued by the excise department of the Assam government Sunday, Additional Commissioner S.K. Medhi said the shops shall remain open in the state on permitted days from 10 am to 5 pm. “Shops may work with bare minimum staff and provide hand sanitisers to customers and staff while handling the bottles and cash,” the notification said.

It added that the shops will also be responsible for ensuring that social distancing between customers and staff is maintained and all the guidelines issues by the National Health Mission of Assam are strictly followed.


Also read: Don’t celebrate Bengal, news of home delivery of booze is fake. Be happy with sweets


Liquor home delivery in some areas of Meghalaya

In Meghalaya, the wine shops have been allowed to remain open between 9 am to 4 pm on permitted days, the official order to deputy excise commissioners stated Saturday.

“Only one person per household is allowed to visit the wine shop for purchase and the movement from one locality/village to another locality/village shall be prohibited,” said Excise Commissioner Pravin Bakshi in the order.

Meghalaya has also allowed home delivery of liquor in areas without wine shops, the modalities of this service will be worked upon by the deputy commissioners.

Liquor shops were earlier closed in Assam and Meghalaya after the nationwide lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 24 March.

In March, the Kerala government had issued an order to provide liquor to people with alcohol-withdrawal symptoms on producing doctor’s prescription, but the state’s High Court stayed the order on 2 April.

In West Bengal, a viral WhatsApp forward had suggested that the Mamata Banerjee government had allowed home delivery of liquor in Kolkata, which turned out to be fake.

Speaking to ThePrint in an exclusive interview, Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa said last week the state has incurred close to Rs 1,500-crore losses since the lockdown and is hence looking at opening liquor vends, one of its biggest revenue sources.

“The decision on opening liquor outlets to help generate revenue through excise will be taken after 14 April,” Yediyurappa had said.


Also read: Karnataka bracing for spurt in Covid-19 cases by April end, a long fight ahead: Yediyurappa


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India

Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’

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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”


Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot


‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.


Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


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