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Alcohol on the wheels: In a first of its kind move, MP government sells liquor from auto-rickshaws

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Special Correspondent

Bhopal: In Vidisha of Madhya Pradesh, liquor vending has moved from highways to on wheels and that too under government patronage.

Residents of the city, part of parliamentary constituency of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj were taken by surprised on Monday when they saw auto-rickshaws and loading autos in certain localities selling liquor under the strict watch of uniformed guards.

The autos carried banner saying ‘government country liquor outlet’ and the vehicles were full of bottles promising happy time to tipplers.

The scenario unfolded in wake of the reiteration of Supreme Court on ban of liquor sale within 500 metres of the highway.

The district excise officer Vinod Khatik said that due to the ban, three liquor outlets at Toppura, Subhash Ward and Bus Stand could not be auctioned. Also nobody agreed to offer a temporary place for the outlets.

In a bid to minimize losses due to non-auction of outlets, the district office of the state excise department decided to vend liquors from passenger auto-rickshaws and loading autos and stationed them at fixed spots in the three localities. Also excise department uniformed guards were stationed near the vehicles for security purposes.

However, it was a first of a kind move by the department and took citizens by the surprise. Many were found clicking photographs of the ‘mobile liquor shops’ on their mobile phones.

People stopped near the ‘mobile outlets’ too, but few purchased liquor from these temporary vends, sources said.

Opposition to opening of liquor outlets in rural settlements near the highways has already started in the state even as search for new spots are on in wake of the Supreme Court ban.