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Andhra Pradesh to study liquor policy in Kerala, Tamil Nadu

Rajahmundry: As the state government is coming up with a new excise policy from July 1, 2015 wherein it will sell liquor directly to the consumers unlike the present set up of through licensees, it is sending a team of senior excise officials headed by the excise minister to Tamil Nadu and Kerala to study how the respective   governments are implementing direct sale of liquor soon.

Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu recently announced that the state government was mulling to take up direct sale of liquor.

Accordingly, the state government is making a head way to implement it. The team comprising senior deputy commissioners of excise and others, will go to the two states and find out how the liquor sale is being taken up, job potential, timings of  sale, impact on volume of sale of liquor and also on a series of offences under excise Act.

At present, nearly 5,000 liquor retail outlets exist in the state and  their licence for sale is valid up to June 30, 2015. The state government is expecting revenue to the tune of Rs 13,000 crores from the sale of liquor this year while it earned revenue worth Rs 10,600 crores last year. Unlike the earlier days, liquor trade is no longer lucrative with the government imposing a series of curbs like not allowing unauthorised retail outlets and booking cases for violation of MRP and timings and this resulted in only a few traders coming forward to set up the   retail outlets.

The government is even setting up several retail outlets through AP Bewerages Corporation Limited to sell liquor as hundreds of outlets remain unallotted in the state.

Experts in liquor trade say that the new excise policy will be beneficial to liquor manufacturers and distributors and no benefit to  consumers as liquor will be sold strictly at MRP.  They allay any fears of unemployment to the existing workers in case of retail outlets are shut by saying that all the experienced workers will be absorbed in the upcoming new outlets as each outlet to be run by APBCL engages seven to 10 person.

The per capita consumption of liquor in AP is  said to be 2.5 pegs per day while it is four pegs in Tamil Nadu. Meanwhile, excise officials say that their role remains unchanged in the new policy.

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