VIJAYAWADA: Excise and Prohibition Commissioner Mukesh Kumar Meena has said that the new liquor policy will come into effect from April 1, 2017.
Speaking to Express here on Thursday, Mukesh Kumar Meena said that the enforcement of the policy has been delayed as the Supreme Court on December 16, 2016 ordered closure of all liquor shops along national and state highways across the country. 3,194 of the total 4,170 liquor vends and 531 bars of the total 746 bars along national and state highways in the State have been affected by the apex court decision.
Lottery to decide award of liquor vends
He said to ensure a transparent, open and competitive process, the department has settled for a lottery system for award of liquor outlets to the private players. The existing liquor shops will be relocated more than 500 meters away from the highways. It may be mentioned here that a majority of wine shops on highways are located in villages on the highways or abutting dhabas or restaurants or near them.
In tune with the SC empowered committee’s directions, the transport and excise departments have been removing all the wine shops on highways. The SC bench also clarified that those having licences to run such shops can operate till the expiry of their licences or April 1, whichever is earlier. Due to this, the liquor shop owners will lose out on the last quarter in their licence tenure as their licence is valid till June, 2017.
According to sources in Excise Department, due to this reason, the State government is contemplating to reduce the licence fee for new tenders.
However, Mukesh Kumar Meena clarified that at present, the government is not planning to increase or decrease licence fee. According to sources, the government is likely to set Rs 15,000 crore as excise revenue target for the financial year 2017-18.