VIJAYAWADA: With the process of issuing licences to wine shops and bars dragging on, the state government has incurred a loss of about Rs 120 crore on the sale of liquor in the last six days, Excise Minister K S Jawahar said on Thursday. Out of the 4,367 wine shops in the state, the government has so far issued licences to only 2,351 shops — roughly 54 per cent. And a mere 30 per cent or 245 of the 830 bars in the state have been given licences.
Though the new excise year began on July 1, Supreme Court guidelines prevented liquor merchants from applying for licences. The government, too, had trouble with paper work initially and expedited the process only after denotifying the state highways recently. Though some merchants were permitted to open liquor outlets away from roads as per the apex court directions, they couldn’t do any business due to stiff resistance from locals, particularly women, and are now seeking permission to relocate their shops.
However, after the government issued orders classifying all road sections in the limits of municipal corporations, municipalities and mandal headquarters as district major roads, the process of issuing licences picked up momentum. It is expected to take a few more days for all shops and bars to be issued licences. Blaming officials for the delay, State Wine Shops Dealers Association president R Subba Rao sought to know why there was a need to take fresh measurements such as distance of the outlet from educational institutions, hospitals and places of worship.