Media reports suggest that dry days are likely to end as the Karnataka government plans to allow the sale of liquor for limited hours if the lockdown is extended beyond April 14, when the lockdown imposed by the Centre ends.
The government has made this decision in wake of making liquor available as incidents of people addicted to alcohol committing suicide and facing health problems due to withdrawal symptoms are on the rise, said officials of the excise department.
Some specific incidents of burglaries targeting wine stores are also on the rise across the state since March 24.
The excise department, however, has proposed to allow the sale of liquor between 10 am and 1 pm if the lockdown is extended beyond April 14 and the CM will take the final call, an officer said.
The ban on liquor sale call of Karnataka govt, however, came around on March 21, four days before the nationwide lockdown announced by PM Modi took effect.
Financial constraints have also prompted the government to mull over the issue as the sale of liquor is the second-highest money-spinner, after commercial tax, for the state government.
Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa had ruled out rumours of liquor sale before April 14.
“We’ll think of allowing sale only after that,” he added.
Fearing a sudden rush might occur if vends are opened for only a few hours, a senior excise official said the government must allow “all liquor shops” to function for a full day or permit only MSIL outlets to operate full time, besides issuing stringent guidelines for the public to follow while buying liquor.