New Delhi, Feb. 24 -- The window behind the grille at the government liquor shop in Tughlakabad extension is usually open by noon. But it comes to life after sundown.

Large crowds gather outside the shop jostling for space. A few seconds are all that customers get to shout the name of a drink, pay cash, grab the bottle, and push themselves out of the crowd. There is no time to browse, or check if a particular brand is available in the 30 seconds that customers get before they are shoved aside.

"Given the size of the crowd and the madness in the last few hours before the shop closes at 10pm, there is not much room for thinking," said Shubham Choudhury, a tech executive who lives in Kalkaji.

There are other problems. In these peak hours,...