Andhra's Prohibition and Excise Department has reportedly issued licences to 3,100 liquor shops and 463 bars in the state over the past week, after a fresh excise policy was implemented on July 1.
Quoting official sources, The Hindu reported that 4,380 liquor shops, 743 bars and 25 bars (located in clubs) were presently functional in the state, and they have been given a deadline till August 15, to obtain new licences.
Speaking to the newspaper, Joint Commissioner (Administration), Prohibition and Excise, A. Chandrashekar Naidu also said that the number of bars in the state, had gone up to 835, with licences issued to 92 new ones.
Last week, the state implemented the Supreme Court directive, that said that liquor shops and bars should not be situated within 500 metres of state and national highways.
Thousands of outlets had to down their shutters, while others faced stiff resistance from locals, after they had to be pushed into residential areas, to avoid violating the rule.
The order has irked several traders and merchants in the state due to this.
The issuing of fresh licences has also continued, despite several protests across the state, by womens groups, who wanted the state to ensure a drop in alcohol consumption.
Many women and students, along with local residents were seen taking to the streets in Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada, demanding that wine shops be shifted away from densely populated areas, as they created a nuisance.
As far as licences were concerned, the state issued a Government Order, as part of its new policy, that made licences valid for five years instead of one.
The GO also set the licence fee at Rs 2 lakh, while the registration fee was much higher.
According to reports, the state government has to pay 18% of its licence fee as GST to the Centre, which would result in a huge revenue loss.
To bypass this, reports suggested that the Andhra government reduced the licence fee to Rs 2 lakh, while increasing the registration fee, to vary between Rs 8 lakh to Rs 28 lakh.