MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government on Tuesday allowed home delivery of liquor to avoid crowding at shops amid the coronavirus-enforced lockdown.
However, the home delivery order, issued by the Home Department, will come into force effect only after guidelines are finalised in the next couple of days, said a senior official.
Only those who have permit for drinking can order for home delivery.
Liquor shops which have been allowed to reopen since May 5 will be able to take orders on phone, he said.
The decision comes in the wake of crowding outside liquor outlets when they opened early last week following relaxations in lockdown norms.
The purpose of allowing home delivery was to avoid crowding at liquor stores and prevent the spread of coronavirus, the official said.
"The order was issued today, but it will not come into effect until detailed guidelines are framed. The government will issue the guidelines in the next two days," he told PTI.
"The mode of payment has to be decided by the buyer and the seller. A person can order up to 12 IMFL (Indian-Made Foreign Liquor) bottles," he added.
Rules regarding possession of various types of liquor at home are displayed on the excise department's website which buyers can check before placing orders, the official said.
Asked about how long this provision would continue in the state, the IAS officer said, "Todays order is valid only till the lockdown period is in force because social gathering is prohibited.
"People coming out of their homes for liquor purchase can now place an order and get it delivered at their doorsteps."
Another IAS officer said, The service will continue to operate on the lines of e-commerce platforms like Amazon where there will be some delivery charges over and above the MRP printed on the bottle.
"The guidelines which will be out by Thursday will explain the procedure further to avoid any confusion. It is the liquor shops responsibility to hire personnel and ensure doorstep delivery of liquor to its customers," she said.
Shop owners will have to take sanitisation and other precautionary measures for staff at regular intervals, the second IAS officer said.
If a buyer does not have purchase permit then a one- day permit can be obtained from the liquor shop owner with standard charges, said the officer, adding every shop will have a limited geographical area of operation.