Amaravati: Taking a major step towards prohibition of liquor in the state, the Andhra Pradesh Government will take over 3,500 wine shops from October 1.
The shops will run under the Andhra Pradesh State Beverages Corporation Limited (APSBCL), Deputy Chief Minister and Excise Minister Naryanaswamy said on Saturday, adding that 475 liquor shops already taken over have been running under APSBCL's aegis from September 1.
The government earlier this month announced that the number of liquor outlets will be reduced from 4,380 to 3,500 and will be eventually phased out.
Narayanswamy said till now 2,872 cases have been registered and 2,928 people taken into custody for operating belt shops. Saying that the government will take firm steps to stamp out illicit liquor, the minister said 4,788 cases have been registered so far against persons for brewing of illicit liquor, and 2,834 people have been arrested.
Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy had promised to ban alcohol in the states in phases during his 'padayatra' last year. The move will fulfill his pre-election promise.
“AP Beverages Corporation will manage all these alcohol shops. So far, 3,448 shops have been taken on lease. The shops will run between 10 am to 9 pm,” said Narayanaswamy. Close to 3,500 supervisors and 8,033 salespersons have been recruited to run the shops.
As per the orders of the chief minister, the excise officials will work in tandem with night-watchmen and CCTV cameras will also be set up.
The state government is also planning to establish deaddiction centres in every hospital for those addicted to alcohol.
“We have taken this step to resolve problems due to alcohol. The government will provide alternate employment to those dependent on alcohol shops. The revenue will not be decreased by government-run alcohol shops. The bar shops are also open till late night and we are trying to reduce it. No permit room shall be available at alcohol shops,” he added.