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Sticking to Its Poll Promise, Jagan Reddy's Cabinet Passes Bill Allowing Only Govt Shops to Sell Liquor

The bill gives exclusive rights to the government, through the AP State Beverages Corporation, to run all liquor retail outlets in the state and private outlets will have to shut shop.

Rishika Sadam | CNN-News18

Updated:July 24, 2019, 8:26 PM IST
Sticking to Its Poll Promise, Jagan Reddy's Cabinet Passes Bill Allowing Only Govt Shops to Sell Liquor
Image used for representation purpose. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Hyderabad: In what seems to be a major step towards alcohol prohibition, the Andhra Pradesh government on Wednesday passed a bill banning sale of liquor in private shops and allowing only government shops to sell alcohol. The bill was moved by Excise and Commercial Taxes minister K Narayana Swamy.

The Andhra Pradesh (Regulation of Trade in Indian Made Foreign Liquor, Foreign Liquor, Amendment) Act, 2019, solely authorises the state government to sell liquor in shops.

This would mean that the government, through the AP State Beverages Corporation, will run all liquor retail outlets in the state and private outlets will have to shut shop after the ban comes into place. The retail outlets the government plans to run will not continue sale beyond 6 pm.

“Only the State Beverages Corporation Limited or any other entity owned and controlled by the government shall have the exclusive privilege of selling by shop the IMFL in the entire state,” said a statement by the state government.

Licences of private players in the market will expire by September 30 this year, with the Act coming into force by the beginning of October.

“There are about 4,380 private shops in the state selling alcohol. All of their licences will lapse by September 30. The new law will come into place by the beginning of October,” sources told News18.

Prohibition of liquor was one of the biggest poll promises of Jagan Mohan Reddy’s manifesto ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. The state government had earlier said the prohibition of liquor would be carried out in three phases.

The first phase would involve the Andhra government seeking to ban belt shops and stores selling liquor near state and national highways. In the second phase, the number of shops would be reduced and, finally, only five-star hotels will be allowed to sell alcohol.

Swamy said the amendment will enable the government to regulate liquor-selling licences to shops and bars, and would help eradicate violations in retailing of IMFL. The legislation would also enforce strict regulations through exclusive retailing by the public sector organisation, he added.

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| Edited by: Moonmoon Ghosh
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