The Andhra Pradesh government also decided to constitute an independent Special Enforcement Bureau to keep a check on illicit liquor.

Man holding liquor bottles purchased during the coronavirus lockdown in IndiaImage for representation: PTI
news Prohibition Sunday, May 10, 2020 - 09:14

After hiking liquor price by 75 percent early this week, the Andhra Pradesh government has decided to reduce the number of retail liquor outlets, by a further 13 percent, to 2,934 by this month end to curtail alcohol consumption and help people "move towards a better life."

According to Special Chief Secretary (Revenue) Rajat Bhargava,the government has also taken a number of steps to check illicit distillation of liquor and inter-state trade of non-duty paid liquor.

Now, the state government has also decided to constitute an independent Special Enforcement Bureau to deal with illicit liquor, with special focus on districts bordering neighbouring states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Odisha and Telangana. Retail liquor business in the state is currently run by the government, through the AP State Beverages Corporation Limited, and the number of outlets was brought down to 3,500 from 4,380 in August last year.

With the latest decision, the number will drop further to 2,934, according to Bhargava.

The state government, early this week, increased the liquor price by 75 percent when shops were opened following easing of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

"The government has taken a number of pro-active steps to further its commitment to reduce alcohol consumption and help people move towards a better life. It has been creating awareness among people on the harmful effects of alcohol consumption and the serious health burden it imposed. The reduction in the number of outlets is to restrict the availability of liquor and safeguard public health," Bhargava said in an order.

He pointed out that the government eliminated a staggering 43,000 ''belt shops'' (illegal liquor vends) spread across the villageS in the state after the new liquor policy came into force last August.

"We have also reduced the number of bars by 40 percent, from 840 to 530, but the matter is now sub-judice. The good thing is, sale of liquor fell drastically by 24 percent and beer by 55 percent between October 2019 and March 2020," Bharagava said.

He said the government has also taken a number of steps to check illicit distillation of liquor and inter-state trade of non-duty paid liquor.

Now, the state government has also decided to constitute an independent Special Enforcement Bureau to deal with illicit liquor, with special focus on districts bordering neighbouring states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Odisha and Telangana.

Show us some love! Support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.