Stories from Tripura

They braved searing heat to hit the bottle as fast as possible

Queue-liquor-shop-Tripura
Foreign liquor shops in the city witnessed huge serpentine queues and the bottles just flew off the racks: Photo Ranjan Roy

People seemed to have just gone crazy, indulged in an unprecedented buying spree. Everyone was buying more than 2 or 3 bottles. Some even wanted a full crate.

Enewstime Desk

Agartala, May 04, 2020 : This is for the first time, perhaps, they loved their constantly itching and irritating ‘mask’. Standing silently on the long queue- maintaining social distance as far as possible- under the blazing sun, they felt happy for two reasons- one , they won’t be left high and dry any more, and two, the mask at least a little concealed their face.

In fact, the day broke with a happy note, if not for others but certainly for the tipplers as it had by then become known that liquor shops in the state would open today morning. And since morning all the foreign liquor shops in the city witnessed huge serpentine queues and the bottles just flew off the racks.

“People seemed to have just gone crazy and indulged in an unprecedented buying spree. Everyone was buying more than two or three bottles. Some even wanted a full crate. Clearly, they were not taking any chance in case the state government changes its mind and once again puts the shutters of liquors shops down”, said an owner of a Shop of the city.

“The demand was mostly for and . However, there were also some who asked for vodka and . There was virtually no demand for gin or tequila”, he added.

In , especially in Agartala, alcohol consumption rate had always been high and the created a ‘serious problem’ for the tipplers even as the known neighbourhood bootleggers were also found to be hapless to help them. With a perched stomach, they came no sooner than the FL shops opened and ensured that they should not face the predicament anymore- lockdown or no lockdown.

Queue-liquor-shop-Tripura

Foreign liquor shops in the city witnessed huge serpentine queues and the bottles just flew off the racks: Photo Ranjan Roy

However, while the whisky lovers could feel relaxed and satisfied the smokers were still having the tough time with market going dry of cigarettes. A single pack of Rs 60 Flake cigarette sold at Rs 180 while Wills sold at more than Rs 250 a pack. In fact, it was free run for the shops while selling the Cigarette—demanding the price as much they liked- since there was no chance of any authority coming to penalize them for asking double or triple of the price. As the Indian brands were either sold or just hoarded, some cheap foreign brands that had been smuggled earlier from were also sold without asking any question. There was actually no option left for the smokers to ‘choose’.

“First I thought it was good that Cigarettes were going hugely costly as I would now be able to quit smoking- at least this time. But as the craving kept on haunting I could not help –and just switched over to ‘biri’. But then biri was also going scarce. The situation is terrible for a chain smoker like me”, said a retired government employee who for obvious reasons did not want to be named.

As the situation stood today, while the tipplers could hit the bottle tonight and drink to the glory of God, the smokers remained still a poor lot without any hope in sight, at least in near future. (Courtesy: Tripura Times)

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