KHAMMAM: A few months back, the Excise department of Bhadrachalam town was approached for permission to open two liquor shops along the road leading to the iconic Ramachandraswamy temple. At the time, locals had raised strong objections to the proposal but the excise officials paid no heed and the liquor shops were allowed to come up. Months later, the worst fears of the locals have come true.
The two liquor shops have turned into points of a nuisance, allege locals, with many drunkards hanging outside the shop and troubling those walking the road, especially women. B Siva Ram, a devotee, shared his harrowing experience and said, “Recently, me and my family were walking up to the temple when some drunkards started passing comments at us. One of my daughters panicked and even dialed 100 but the line was busy.” The situation is especially bad in the evenings when the local women come out for a walk along the temple road.
Even the devotees who come from other places have complained of harassment by drunkards outside the liquor shop. “We are facing a lot of problem in the evening as drunk men get abusive and create a nuisance on the road,” K Rama Devi, a woman devotee from Kurnool, told Express. Moreover, the locals feel that the location of liquor shops close to the temple is hurting the sanctity of the temple. “How could the government allow liquor shops outside the temple? I urge the government to take back the shops’ permits in the new policy,” said B Kishore, a local. “Devotees reach Bhadrachalam from all over the country. What kind of an impression will they take back,” asks TVGL Syam Sunder, an elderly local.