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Liquor home delivery allowed in Mumbai`s non-containment zones; no across-the-counter sale

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New Delhi: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Friday (May 22) decided to allow home delivery of liquor in Mumbai, except in containment zones, said an official statement, adding that over-the-counter sale will not be allowed. Earlier, the liquor sale was completely banned in Mumbai, which is worst affected by the coronavirus outbreak in the country. 

The BMC order, which will come into effect from midnight today, said, “E-commerce platforms may be utilised by the liquor shops permitted to do home delivery.” 

It further said, “Amendment in guidelines in respect of liquor shops selling liquor in sealed bottles be permitted to operate by selling liquor to the customers by effecting delivery in view of Extension of lockdown and revised guidelines on the measures to be taken for containment of COVID-19.”

BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal, however, said, “excluding the containment zone, the liquor shops selling liquor in sealed bottles can be permitted to operate by selling liquor to the customers by effecting delivery of the permitted liquor to the home address of the customer.”

The BMC Commissioner directed that “The jurisdictional State Excise Officers and Ward Officers will ensure compliance of these orders.”

He also cautioned that “action under the relevant sections of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, Disaster Management Act, 2005 and Section 188 of Indian Penal Code will be initiated against the defaulters.”

Earlier this month, the BMC had allowed the opening of liquor shops but withdrew the order as people were not following social distancing norms.

Maharashtra today, however, recorded the highest spike of 2,940 COVID-19 cases in a single day, taking the total number of positive coronavirus cases to 44,582. Mumbai too witnessed as many as 53 new COVID-19 positive cases in the Dharavi area today, and the total number of positive cases increase to 1,478 with 57 deaths, according to the BMC.

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COVID-19: India surpasses France, Germany, becomes 7th most-affected country in world

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New Delhi: India is now the seventh most affected country by the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic with a tally of 190,162 cases, which includes 5,402 deaths, according to data presented by the worldometer website. 

The United States leads the table with 18.2 lakh cases, including 1.05 lakh casualties. Of these, over 11.18 lakh cases are active cases while 5.36 lakh have been either recovered or discharged from hospitals. At least 17,163 people are said to be seriously critical of the infection in the US. 

Brazil takes the second spot with 5.01 lakh cases and over 28,000 deaths. Here, 2.67 lakh is active cases and over 2 lakh people have been recovered of the illness. Close to 8,300 are critically ill in Brazil. 

Russia is on the third spot with 4.05 lakh cases followed by the United Kingdom, Spain, and Italy. 

On May 31, India registered its highest single-day spike of COVID-19 cases with 8,380 new infections reported in the last 24 hours, taking the country’s tally to 1,82,143, while the death toll rose to 5,164.

Just a few days back, on May 25, India took the tenth position on the table with a total of 1.38 lakh confirmed cases, after surpassing Iran, which stood at 1.35 cases.

Maharashtra continues to be the worst-hit state in the country with 67,655 positive cases of coronavirus, as on May 31. Mumbai alone accounts for 39,686 of the total 67k cases of the state. The number of active cases of COVID-19 in Maharashtra stands at 36,040.

Other most-affected states are Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. 

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Karnataka issues guidelines for Unlock 1: Religious places, restaurants, malls to reopen

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Bengaluru: A day after the Center announced fifth phase of the country wide coronavirus COVID-19 lockdown, the Karnataka government on Sunday (May 31) issued its guidelines on the lockdown measures undertaken for ‘Unlock 1’. 

The new guidelines state that all the lockdown measures will remain in force in Karnataka till June 30. 

Whereas places of religious worship, restaurants, hotels, and other hospitality services can funtion from June 8 along with shopping malls and complexes.

The Karnataka government was expected to take a call on resuming the operation of inter-state buses after getting consent from other states though the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has already assumed operations with several restrictions in place.

Meanwhile, the Karnataka Pradesh Hotels and Restaurants’ Association was elated with the state government’s decision to lift restrictions on the hotel industry.

In a quote to PTI, the President of the association Chandrashekar Hebbar said, “We are fully prepared to resume our business. We will abide by the guidelines such as wearing masks, social distancing, gloves and so on.”

The Centre had on Saturday announced the exit plan for the lockdown dubbed as ‘Unlock 1’ that permits reopening places of religious worshipm shoppping malls and restaurants among other things.

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CIC scolds official for denying RTI data on stranded migrants, asks government to put it online

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New Delhi: The Central Information Commission has pulled up an official for “callous and casual” response in denying data on stranded migrant labourers under the RTI Act, and asked the Labour Ministry to upload on its website as much data as possible on them.

Information Commissioner Vanaja N Sarna came down heavily on the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of the office of Chief Labour Commissioner (CLC) who has told RTI activist Venkatesh Nayak that it has no data on stranded migrant labourers.

The CPIO gave the response despite Nayak having quoted an April 8 circular of the CLC, directing its regional office to count within three days every labourer stranded after the imposition of the countrywide lockdown on March 25 to combat coronavirus.

Nearly a fortnight after the CLC circular, Nayak had filed an RTI application seeking to know the state-wise names of districts from which data about the stranded migrant workers were received. But he was told the officer did not have any data.

Nayak then filed a complaint under the Right to Information (RTI) Act before the Commission.

Sarna said the bench is conscious of the fact that under Section 18 of the RTI Act directions for disclosure of information is not warranted.


However, she said, keeping in view the extraordinary circumstances that necessitated the complaint, it was prudent to consider Nayak’s query in the letter and spirit of the RTI Act.

“In doing so, the Commission invokes section 25(5) of the RTI Act and issues an advisory to the respondent authority to maintain a robust and dynamic website for placing all data related to migrant workers therein as and when it is received from different Regional Heads,” she said.

Sarna quoted from orders of the Supreme Court, High Courts and Home Ministry’s press briefings in her detailed direction.

At this point, she said, it is necessary for the CPIO to put his best possible efforts to collect this data from different Regional Heads and place them on their website immediately even if it is done in a piecemeal manner.

“It is also necessary to continue to update this data from time to time as additional data is received from various quarters,” she said.

Underlining that the RTI application raised a very important issue, Sarna said the Commission is not convinced with the fact that when a letter is issued by the Chief 


Labour Commissioner to collect the data on migrant labourers, who are seriously affected by the pandemic, then how it is possible that no action was taken whatsoever.

“It is established beyond doubt that the CPIO has handled the RTI application in a very callous and casual manner. The complainant through his RTI application has raised a very important issue related to the stranded migrant workers,” Sarna said in her stern order.

But to the utmost surprise of the Commission, she observed, the CPIO has given a cursory, flimsy and inappropriate reply to Nayak while totally ignoring the seriousness of the issue he raised.

“The Commission records its severe admonition against the CPIO for such negligent handling of the RTI application concerning an issue of such wide implications,” she said.

Sarna said the officer seemed completely unaware of the provisions of the RTI Act.

Had he been aware, he could have transferred the query to the appropriate authority in the Chief Labour Commissioner’s office to obtain the collated information from them, she said.

“He should note that such poor handling shows complete laxity towards the implementation of the RTI Act which was enacted to promote transparency and accountability in the country and in case such a lapse is repeated in future, the Commission will be constrained to initiate penal action against him,” she said.

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