VIJAYAWADA: Hard days are ahead for tipplers in the city. With the ongoing row between income-tax and excise officials in the state getting nowhere, all shops in the city are going to dry up. The stocks with the retail outlets may not last more than four to five days.
According to officials, the two depots in Krishna district, one in Vijayawada and the other in Gudivada, have been shut down by the income-tax department since Feb 28.
The I-T department contends that the excise department owes a whopping `9,000 crore as tax payable to it from 2004-05 to 2013-14. It argues that as the AP Beverages Corporation is doing business by purchasing liquor and beer from distilleries and breweries and selling it to retail outlets, the income it so earns is taxable.
As regards Krishna district, both the depots run by the AP Beverages Corporation have been sealed by the income-tax department and since the retail shops have stocks that can last for a fortnight, the tipplers are not feeling the pinch. Now, the shops are showing signs of drying up and soon the boozers would have a tough time. Their Telangana counterparts are, in fact, better off. The sale of liquor by beverages to retail outlets is going on at the instance of the High Court of Hyderabad but AP does not have that kind of luxury.
Now, efforts are on to send a team of senior officials to Delhi to resolve the issue. The officials are waiting for the High Court direction on the issue in Telangana state so that they can plan their next move.
According to excise department officials, consumption of liquor in Vijayawada is about 2,500 cases per day (each comprises 48 bottles). “If the issue is not resolved in the next two to three days, the city and the district will go dry.
More than inconvenience for the tipplers, the government would lose income,” an excise official said but it is anybody’s guess how long it will take, given the fact that it is very difficult to convince the I-T officials.