Thursday, April 2, 2009

Closing down Belt shops empties treasury: AP Government reply to EC

Hyderabad, 1st April : AP Government itself has become a hurdle to the Election Commission in its efforts for smooth and fair conduct of election process. To control liquor distribution and its illegal businesses during elections, the Election Commission has taken stringent actions against wine dealers all over Andhra Pradesh. In view of this, it has orderded for closure of belt shops and unlicensed liquor shops in the State and booked cases against liquor ancilliaries. The shock-proned wine dealers made an appeal before the EC that they are ready to close the shops if they get back licence fee paid to the state Govt. However, Government has informed the Chief Electoral Officer, I. V. Subba Rao, that closing the liquor shops is not possible because the Govt get to the tune of 400 to 500 crore rupees per month from excise taxes and licences. Furthermore, any move to restrict liquor sales would empty the State treasury. Govt of Andhra pradesh is heavily dependant upon the excise taxes. The liquor business reached to new heights in YS Rajashekhar Reddy’s Government.

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