VIJAYAWADA: Here is good news for tipplers as the State government slashed the prices of liquor on Saturday. According to officials of the Andhra Pradesh State Beverages Corporation Limited (APSBCL), the prices will decline by 15-20% on various IMFL brands. The new prices will come into force from Sunday.
Even after rationalisation of VAT, Special Margin and Additional Excise Duty, the Maximum Retail Price of liquor in AP will be marginally higher than that of other States.
The government which increased the prices of liquor abnormally to discourage tipplers, was now forced to reduce the prices to curb the flow of liquor from neighbouring States.
The government had even constituted the Special Enforcement Bureau (SEB) to curb the flow of non-duty paid liquor into the State. Despite several measures taken by the government to curb bootlegging, the flow of liquor into the State continued unabated.
Hence, the government felt that there was a need to further rationalise Additional Retail Excise Tax (ARET) on liquor to prevent cross-border smuggling of non-duty paid liquor as well as manufacturing of ID liquor in the State.
Over 23,500 booked for bootlegging this year
In an order issued by Special Chief Secretary (Revenue) Rajat Bharghava, the government has rationalised the rates of VAT, Special Margin and Additional Excise Duty / Additional Countervailing Duty levied on liquor for human consumption. It has also rationalised the rates of Additional Excise Duty / Additional Countervailing Duty levied on the cost of IMFL, beer, wine and ready to drink varieties manufactured in the State. According to the order, there is an increase in the number of bootlegging cases as well as the quantity of liquor seized in raids.
As many as 17,654 cases were booked against 23,500 accused for bootlegging this year. More than 6.20 lakh litres of IMFL and 6,436 litres of beer were seized till November 21.
When contacted by TNIE, APSBCL Managing Director D Vasudeva Reddy said as the menace of liquor smuggling from other States continued despite the government putting all efforts, they have decided to cut the prices to some extent.
Welcoming the reduction in liquor prices, AP Madya Vimochana Prachara Committee State Chairman Vallamreddy Lakshmana Reddy felt the move will help curb the flow of liquor from neighbouring States.
The consumption of country liquor and ganja would decline with the reduction in IMFL prices as the working class was getting addicted to them unable to buy costly liquor, he said.