SRIKAKULAM: The supply of liquor for 233 wine shops and 16 bars in the district have been stopped following a raid at Andhra Pradesh Beverages Corporation Limited and seized its depot at Etcherla on Monday evening.
The IT officials issued notice to the Andhra Pradesh Beverages Corporation Limited and seized its depot on Monday evening. It is said that the APBCL has to pay `154 crore as tax incurred by its Etcherla godown. The notice said that the APBCL owes `1,468 crore from across the state to the IT department.
But the bottling unit officials said that they collect one per cent of the tax from the shopkeepers whenever they supply liquor to the wine shops. They pay the collected amount to the IT department on 7th of every month.
They said that every month `40 to 50 lakh was collected from the shopkeepers from the liquor sold to the shops. The Etcherla APBCL depot manager Victoria Rani said that it would be brought to the notice of higher officials.
The liquor sales came to a standstill since Monday evening and unloading of liquor from the lorries was stopped and 25 trucks were stranded. The employees were also sitting idle as the APBCL offices were closed. They said that they had already went broke since they spent all their savings.
Airing a similar view, lorry driver Sudhakar said he was helpless and did not know what to do. Another truck driver Narayana said that he was anxiously waiting for unloading to restart so that he would get livelihood. The workers seemed to have gone jobless since loading and unloading of liquor had stopped.
CITU leader Tejeswara Rao said that the problem arose because of lack of coordination between the Centre and the state governments. It could be solved through talks.
Meanwhile, the shopkeepers are selling liquor over and above the cover price (MRP) since the stocks have depleted due to lack of supply. Against this background there is also a possibility of smuggling of liquor from Odisha.
The state exchequer will be the loser if liquor flows into the district with out paying excise tax. Excise and enforcement officials are on their job to check liquor smuggling.