Telangana Govt May Follow in Andhra Pradesh's Steps in Taking Control of Liquor Business in State: Report
Officials from the state excise department have reportedly hinted to the chief minister that taking control of the liquor business would be a 'hassle'.
Representative Image (Reuters).
Hyderabad: Taking a cue from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, the Telagnana government is considering taking control of the liquor sale in the state. If the idea is implemented, liquor will be sold at state-run shops, rather than licences being allotted to private dealers.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao reportedly discussed the issue with his Andhra Pradesh counterpart Jaganmohan Reddy at a recent meeting. Discussions are also continuing over the implementation of the move, sources privy to the matter said. Newly-formed Telangana has nearly 2,300 liquor shops, with 240 of them within the city limits.
However, officials from the state excise department have reportedly hinted to Rao that taking control of the liquor business would be a "hassle" and the implementation "extremely challenging".
The chief minister’s office, however, thinks the move would lead to higher revenue for the state government, said sources. The government gives a 20% margin on liquor sales to private operators. If it takes over the business, it would mean added revenue. To further enhance the revenue margin, the government can also increase the prices of liquor.
A government order issued on Wednesday extending the licences for private dealers and retail shop owners by a month till the end of October has added to the speculation.
The current excise policy is due to expire by the end of September and a new excise policy has to come into force from October 1. The deadline for the state government to call for new applications bidding for retail liquor outlets has already passed. Now, the two-year licence period has been extended by a month.
Officials from the Excise Department warned that the state government would lose Rs 1,400 crore earned through application and licence fee. If implemented, Telangana would join the bandwagon of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, which is working on step-wise "prohibition" of liquor. The Andhra government in July had issued orders on taking control over the liquor business in the state.
According to reports, Telangana earned revenue worth over Rs 11,000 crore from liquor sale. From April to October last year, the state recorded a growth of 20.11% in liquor sale, corresponding to sales of Rs 11,894 crore compared to previous year.
Former chief minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) founder NT Rama Rao imposed liquor prohibition in the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh on January 16, 1995. His son-in-law and former chief minister, Chandrababu Naidu, continued the prohibition, but lifted it in 1997, citing revenue deficiency.
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