As a first major step towards prohibition, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government in Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday took over the retail liquor business. Andhra Pradesh Beverages Corporation Limited (APBCL) took control of liquor stores from private contractors. Officials said the number of shops has been cut to 3,500 from 4,380 earlier.
In an amendment made at the last minute to the Andhra Pradesh Excise (Grant of Licence of selling by Shop and conditions of licence) Rules, 2019, the government reduced the business hours of the shops. In a G.O issued on Monday, it was stated that shops will be open between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. only. Earlier, the closing time was fixed at 9 p.m.
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. As per the rules, no liquor shop is supposed to be located within 100 m of a place of public worship, educational institution and hospital with at least 30 beds. No permit room is allowed and consumption on the store premises is prohibited.
In another move to discourage consumption of liquor, the government hiked its prices by increasing Additional Retail Excise Tax (AERT). The prices of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL), foreign liquor, beer, wine and ready -to-drink varieties have gone up by ₹10 to ₹250.