AP to reduce retail liquor outlets by 13 per cent by May end

State takes the decision to curtail alcohol consumption and help people move towards a better life

The resolution is a response to frequent incidents of drunken brawls, arguments, and crime in Ratir Kethi. Representational image: PTI

After hiking liquor price by 75 per cent early this week, Andhra Pradesh government has decided to reduce the number of retail liquor outlets by 13 per cent by the end of this month to curtail alcohol consumption and help people move towards a better life.

According to Special Chief Secretary (Revenue) Rajat Bhargava, the government has also taken a number of steps to check illicit distillation of liquor and inter-state trade of
non-duty paid liquor.

Now, the state government has also decided to constitute an independent Special Enforcement Bureau to deal with illicit liquor, with special focus on districts bordering neighbouring states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Odisha and Telangana.

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Retail liquor business in the state is currently run by the government, through the AP State Beverages Corporation Limited, and the number of outlets was brought down to 3,500 from 4,380 in August last year. With the latest decision, the number will drop further to 2,934, according to Bhargava.

“The government has taken a number of pro-active steps to further its commitment to reduce alcohol consumption and help people move towards a better life,” he said in an order.

It has been creating awareness among people on the harmful effects of alcohol consumption and the serious health burden it imposed. The reduction in the number of outlets is to restrict the availability of liquor and safeguard public health,” Bhargava said.

He pointed out that the government eliminated a staggering 43,000 belt shops (illegal liquor vends) spread across the villageS in the state after the new liquor policy came into force last August.

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“We have also reduced the number of bars by 40 per cent, from 840 to 530, but the matter is now sub-judice. The good thing is, sale of liquor fell drastically by 24 per cent and beer by 55 per cent between October 2019 and March 2020,” Bhargava said.

He said the government has also taken a number of steps to check illicit distillation of liquor and inter-state trade of non-duty paid liquor.

Now, the state government has also decided to constitute an independent Special Enforcement Bureau to deal with illicit liquor, with special focus on districts bordering neighbouring states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Odisha and Telangana.

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