Amaravati: In keeping with their election promise of total prohibition, the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in Andhra Pradesh took the first step by seizing the retail liquor business and increasing the price of liquor to discourage consumption.
A new excise policy coming into effect from Tuesday will also see the number of outlets reduced by 20 per cent. The number of shops has been cut down from 4,380 to 3,500 earlier.
The business hours of wine shops have also been reduced. The shops will now remain open from 11am to 8pm against 10am to 10pm earlier. The government also banned the consumption of liquor in wine shops to avoid inconvenience to people living near the premises.
Under the new rules, no liquor shop is supposed to be located within 100 meters of a place of worship, educational institution or a hospital. They should also not be visible from state or national highways.
After the price revision, the price of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL), foreign liquor, beer, wine and ready-to-drink varieties have gone up by Rs 10 to Rs 250.
APBCL will get four per cent commission on sales at the liquor shops. Some 3,500 supervisors, 8,033 salesmen have been recruited to run these shops. The government said the rules about sale of liquor at MRP will be strictly implemented and those violating the rules would be removed from the job with immediate effect.
Imposing total prohibition was a key promise made by the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) during the election campaign. Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy had announced after assuming office in May that prohibition would be enforced in phases and finally the consumption of liquor will be confined to five-star hotels only.
Deputy Chief Minister and Excise Minister Naryanaswamy said 43,000 belt shops allowed by the previous government were closed down after Jagan Mohan Reddy ordered a crackdown.
Belt shops were the illegal outlets of the licensed liquor shops.
The government claimed that the series of steps led to liquor sales coming down by 15 per cent in the last four months.
To address women's complains regarding liquor consumption, the government has recruited, 14,994 women constables in village and ward secretariats, which will become operational from October 2.
(With inputs from IANS)