Andhra Pradesh hits new high, clocks Rs 200 crore liquor sales in 4 days

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.

Going by the official records, the excise and prohibition department did not release the stocks in the last three days of June, anticipating the closure of shops close to the highways. The licensees have been asked to finish off their stock and make proposals for alternative locations for new licence effective from July 1.
The sales resumed on July 1 as around 10-15 per cent of the eligible licensees were allowed to open the shops after getting the licences. These shops purchased `18 crore stock on the first day of new licensing calender.

The licensees lifted stocks worth `56.97 crore on July 2. Much to the shock of officials, liquor traders purchased 75.01crore stock on July 3.
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