AMARAVATI: Liquor sales in Andhra Pradesh are touching the dizzying heights even though nearly 70 per cent of the wine shops remain shut waiting for licence renewal.
The tipplers tanked up liquor worth 200 crore stock in the last four days alone as the shops located on the state and national highways were ‘unaffected’ by the Supreme Court’s verdict. Even the protests by women demanding the closure of liquor shops in residential areas seemed to have no effect as the sales shattered all the previous records.
Some of the shops started functioning on Tuesday, within minutes after the state government issued a GO that reclassified the state highways as major district roads. “We are baffled by the record sales,” a senior excise official told TOI. Insiders pointed out that the huge spurt in sales was because of presence of a large number of unauthorised outlets, popularly known as belt shops, which recorded massive sales.
On July 4, a record of sorts was created as AP Breweries Corporation Ltd(APBCL) off-loaded stocks worth 58.82 crore. “It is due to a huge number of belt shops that triggered a surge in the illegal sales of liquor. This only shows how the government is encouraging liquor sales,” complained AIDWA state general secretary D Ramadevi.