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8 May, 2020 05:20

‘Heavy rush’: Delhi launches website for residents to buy alcohol without massive queues...it GOES DOWN in an instant

‘Heavy rush’: Delhi launches website for residents to buy alcohol without massive queues...it GOES DOWN in an instant

The Indian capital’s attempt to stop people lining up in front of liquor shops, often in violation of social distancing norms, has suffered a setback after a website created to allot time for a store visit crashed due to overload.

Long lines of buyers besieging liquor shops, which have recently been allowed to reopen in Delhi and across other states, has become a familiar sight in India, with local authorities struggling to regulate the flood of customers who often disregard social distancing guidelines currently in place.

While some states got creative in their bid to stem the flow of parched patrons – instructing would-be shoppers to bring umbrellas with them so they would be physically unable to stand close to each other – the IT-savvy government in New Delhi launched a website where residents could apply for a “liquor purchase queue token” to visit the nearby shop within the time-frame specified in the document.

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“Any person can apply for an e-token through the link. While applying, the name and phone number of the applicant will be required and the e-coupon will be sent at the registered mobile number. Through that e-token, the person will be allowed to buy liquor from the nearby shops,” the city authorities said in a statement Thursday.

However, the launch was far from smooth, as the site was quickly overwhelmed with customers and ultimately crashed due to high traffic.

As of Friday morning, the site was still inaccessible, displaying a 500 Internal Server Error.

Apparently disappointed, customers took to Twitter to report issues with the program and vent their dismay at the glitch-ridden site.

Responding to the avalanche of complaints, the city government admitted that the website cracked under the “heavy rush” of customers, promising “it will be up soon.”

Per the city’s guidance, those with and without tokens are expected to line up in separate queues outside the stores.

As New Delhi and the rest of the country gradually eases its lockdown, some 160 standalone liquor shops were allowed to resume serving customers in the capital since Monday, after an extended pause of some 40 days. In a bid to put brakes on the surge in demand, the government announced a 70 percent price hike on alcohol – dubbed “a corona fee.” However, with the measures having little effect on the influx of customers, authorities warned that they could revoke permits in areas where people continue to flout social distancing norms.

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