GUNTUR: Wine shop owners in Guntur city as well as in other parts of the district are flouting norms and exploiting the customers by charging excess amount than the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) on sale of liquor. Though, the menace of MRP violation has been on from several months, it was only limited to Rs 5, Rs 10 and Rs 20 on sale of quarter, half and full bottles and Rs 10 on beer bottle.
However, in recent times, the shop owners have begun charging more and collecting from Rs 10 to Rs 20 on sale of every quarter bottle, much to the disappointment of tipplers.
The excise department officials supposed to monitor the liquor outlets allegedly remained mute spectators to curb the menace of MRP violation, as it is a known fact that most of the liquor shops are maintained by political leaders and their followers. There are also allegations that the excise department officials themselves collude with merchants and extend them the necessary support.
Though, the officials in recent times conducted raids on the wine shops after the liquor tragedy, in a bar, in Vijayawada, where five persons died after consuming adulterated liquor, they could not give any respite to the tipplers as the liquor shop owners continue to fleece the customers by charging extra money.
When contacted the Guntur Excise department assistant commissioner Anandaraju over the violation of MRP, said that they were conducting inspections from time-to-time and are registering cases against the violators.
However, citing that the department is presently concentrating on eradication of country-made liquor (arrack), he admitted that there is every possibility of the liquor merchants committing malpractices.
“As we are focusing on elimination of arrack, the liquor merchants may resort to violations,” he said and assured to take steps for curbing the same.
Stating that shop owners flouting the MRP norm will invite action, he said that apart from collecting Rs 1,00,000 from shop owners for violating the norm for the first time, they also have the power to cancel shop licenses in case of repeated violations. He warned the liquor shop owners to adhere to the norms or face action.