In an attempt to bring total prohibition in the State, the government, has launched the new liquor policy on October 1. All the private liquor shops, which account for 4,500 in the State, were closed at 8 pm on September 30. The unsold stocks in those shops would have to be returned to the AP Beverages Corporation Limited in the next one week.
Meanwhile, the AP Beverages Corporation had opened its shops across the State with its own staff. The government had brought down the number of shops to 3,400 this time. The government had also reduced the liquor sales time by several hours. The shops would be open at 11 am and closed at 8 pm, a cut of three hours every day.
Having cut the number of shops and the sales time, the government is also increasing the cost of the liquor. The new rates have come into force from Tuesday. The hike is from Rs 20 on a quarter bottle to Rs 80 on a full bottle. The government intends to discourage sales by increasing the price and is not interested in the revenue, said chief minister’s advisor and former chief secretary Ajay Kallam.
The State government wants to reduce the availability of liquor in the State by reducing the timing and the shops. The next move is likely to increase the price to discourage the consumption. The government is also planning to open deaddiction centres across the State to provide counselling for the alcoholics.
The first move towards this was already executed successfully with the closure of belt shops in the State. The liquor is now not available in the villages as it had been the practice in the last five years. The women are happy with the non-availability of liquor in the villages in the form of belt shops.
According to an unofficial assessment, the sale of liquor in the State had come down by 15 lakh bottles on an average per month, with the closure of the belt shops.