Express News Service
GUWAHATI: The Assam government allowed the online sale and home delivery of liquor under Guwahati Municipal Corporation areas from Friday.
With people’s movement curtailed by the pandemic-induced curfew, the government’s decision will come as a relief to drinkers.
The government said the online sale could be further extended to other parts of the state. The reason behind allowing liquor’s online sale was to avoid overcrowding and facilitate social distancing norms.
West Bengal, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala and Punjab have already introduced online sales and home delivery of liquor.
“In view of the pandemic, the circumstances (that) exist, which render it necessary to permit the online sale of liquor, shall also curb consumption of illicit liquor,” the order said.
Recently, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had said that the observation of his ministers was that Covid in the state was spreading from evening gatherings at illicit liquor joints.
Amendment was made to the Assam Excise Rules, 2016, now called the Assam Excise (Amendment) Rules, 2021 with insertion of new rule 323A namely “online sale/home delivery of liquor”.
The eligible retailers will have to register themselves on an App developed solely for this purpose by furnishing a copy of the valid licence, location of premises, list of delivery agents with name, address, phone number, photographs, and other details. The delivery agent shall not be less than 21 years of age. Each retailer can engage a maximum of 10 delivery agents.
The order stated that an eligible customer would have to register on the online portal furnishing proof of age and address. He or she can order online up to three litres of liquor. However, the delivery agent can carry a maximum of nine litres of liquor at a time.
“The order shall be executed against pre-payment only and the delivery be ordinarily completed within two hours of receiving orders,” it said.
Online home delivery will be from 11 am to 10 pm subject to compliance with lockdown restrictions. The online sale of liquor shall not be available for hostels of educational institutions, government, non-government, semi-government offices, and other public and religious places, the order stated.
It further stated the retailers would have to abide by the maximum retail price, fixed by the Assam Excise Department, failing which appropriate legal action would be taken against them.
The delivery charges will be Rs 50 per order for a distance of less than 1 km and Rs 75 per order for a distance between 1 km and 2 km. In addition to delivery charges, service charges, and internet payment gateway charges, as may be applicable, will be borne by the customer.