ADILABAD: At a time when the state government and authorities concerned are focused on bringing down the number of Covid cases, in wake of which they announced a 10-day lockdown across Telangana, the local unauthorised liquor shops, widely known as belt shops, are still running in full swing.
Since authorised liquor shops have permission to operate only between 6.00 am and 10.00 am, belt shops in erstwhile Adilabad district are making maximum use of the lockdown and earning bucket-loads of money.
Sources told The New Indian Express that even some local Kirana shops have now turned belt shops and the owners are selling liquor illegally for double the price.
In a recent hunt, the Dhandapelli police had seized three belt shops in the mandal and recovered liquor bottles, worth a face value of Rs 26,000. The bottles would have fetched the offenders Rs 45,000, if they managed to sell them.
The Mancherial police, as per the directions of Ramagundam Commissioner of Police (CP) V Satyanarayana, has been carrying out raids at various places in the district for the past two days, and has so far seized about 13 belt shops, recovered liquor bottles worth Rs 1.38 lakh and arrested as many as 13 persons.
While the police seized three belt shops each in Mancherial town and under the limits of Jaipur and Dhandapelli police stations, they also seized one belt shop each under the limits of Thandur, Kannapelli, Thallagurjalla and Srirampur police stations.
According to sources, the police officials are leaving no stone unturned to bust all belt shop rackets.
However, there are allegations that such illegal liquor shops are working in the erstwhile district with the help of Excise Department officials. Sources told The New Indian Express that at least two to three belt shops are operating in each and every residential colony in the erstwhile district.