Vijayawada, May 5 : Giving a shock to the tipplers, the Andhra Pradesh government hiked the prices of liquor by 50 percent on Tuesday. The state government had hiked the prices of liquor by 25 per cent a couple of days ago. The enhanced rates came into effect from this morning. The liquor prices hike has led to delay in opening of liquor shops this morning in the State.
The government had claimed that the 75 per cent hike of liquor prices in a span of two days is aimed to discourage people from consuming alcohol. The government is selling liquor to the consumers through the sales outlets across the state. At present liquor is being sold from 11 am to 7 am in the orange and green zones. Special Chief Secretary (Revenue) Rajat Bhargava said that the steep hike of liquor prices is to ‘discourage’ people from alcohol consumption and thereby safeguard their health and their families as well. He said that the enhanced prices would come into effect immediately. Officials said that the liquor shops in the state are allowed to open at 12 noon instead of 11 am today.
Official sources said that Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy directed the officials to take steps to reduce retail outlets of liquor by 15 per cent by this month end. Interestingly, unmindful of the 75 percent hike in the liquor prices, tipplers were seen standing in long queues in front of liquor shops in the green and orange zones on Tuesday also. Braving the intense heat wave condition, some tipplers were seen squatting in the queue lines. Stampede like situation prevailed on Monday in front of some liquor shops, which were opened after a gap of 45 days due to Coronavirus lockdown.
In a statement here on Tuesday, Minister for Excise K Narayana Swamy said that the liquor shops were opened not only in Andhra Pradesh but also in other States. Referring to video footage which was circulating in social media, he said that people thronged to wine shops and formed long queues ignoring social distance only at some places. The Minister said that steps were taken to maintain physical distance at the liquor shops across the State. “The district Collectors and Superintendents of police were instructed to close down the liquor shops where physical distance is not followed. Some liquor shops were closed this morning for the same reason”, Mr Swamy said. (UNI)