‘Why are liquor shops open?’: Oppn, Minister question Goa lockdown

With restaurants and wet markets allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity during a four-day lockdown in Goa, questions are being raised by the Opposition as well as a cabinet minister, about the seriousness of the preventive measures enforced to control the Covid-19 surge in the coastal state.

The four-day lockdown was imposed in the state after much dithering by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant from Thursday night to Monday morning.

“This lockdown is to pull wool over the eyes of the people of the state. Shops, private factories, establishments are open, buses are functioning, restaurants and even wine shops are open. How is this a lockdown?” Progressive Front of Goa spokesperson Hridaynath Shirodkar said.

Carlos Ferreira, who heads the legal cell of the Congress, said that the orders issued by District Magistrates ordering the lockdown were flawed.

“Nowhere do these orders issued by them mention the word lockdown,” he said, adding that the administrative orders were ambiguous in nature.

Markets in Goa were largely closed on Friday, even as several stores including shops selling non-essential goods like even plywood and liquor were open in several areas, according to Ports Minister Michael Lobo.

“Plywood shops, glassware shops, liquor shops were open in the morning. They were told by the police and other officials to shut down later. I feel that the North Goa Collector has to come out with clear orders under Section 144,” he said.

The Minister said that the Covid-19 situation was spiralling out of control in the state.

“There are no beds with oxygen at the District Hospital and the Goa Medical College. It is difficult to give patients oxygen flow in this situation,” Lobo said, adding that he would request Chief Minister to extend the preventive measure for nine more days at least, to break the Covid-19 chain.

Sawant, however, has maintained that the lockdown would end on Monday morning.

“Lockdown will not be extended. People should stay home and co-operate with the government,” he said.