Andhra Pradesh govt takes over liquor business in state

Budweiser beer bottles are seen in a cooler at a liquor shop. (Photo/Reuters)

The Andhra Pradesh government on Tuesday took over the liquor business in the state under the new Excise Policy, in what it called the "first step towards total prohibition".

Accordingly, the AP Beverages Corporation opened 3,317 retail outlets for sale of liquor against the 3,500 planned. Till Monday, liquor was sold in the retail market by private vendors through 4,380 shops while the AP Beverage Corporation remained the wholesaler.

"In tune with the new policy, the number of liquor retail outlets has been reduced by 20%. This is the first step towards implementing total (liquor) prohibition in the state," Excise Commissioner M M Nayak said.

The liquor sale timings have also been curtailed by three hours daily and accordingly shops would now be open from 11 AM to 8 PM.

"Liquor sales volume has also reduced by 18% from June to September this year. Also, 2,915 belt shops (unauthorized liquor vends) have been shut down. Now that the government itself is operating the retail outlets, there will be no scope for belt shops," the Excise Commissioner said. Only three bottles of liquor would be sold to each person as against six previously. 

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