The retail liquor shops in Andhra Pradesh are up for public auction on June 7 with a hike of 15 per cent in the upset price of the lease amount. Excise Commissioner Heeralal Samaria told The Hindu that there was no change in the number of shops that would be sold for the lease period 2010-12, starting July 1. The same 6,596 shops that were leased out two years ago would remain. In fact, the shops' strength has remained unchanged since 2005.

East Godavari tops in the State with a total of 555 shops while there are 212 shops in the State capital comprising the old Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad limits plus Secunderabad Cantonment. Another 390 shops are located in the adjoining Ranga Reddy district comprising three excise districts of Saroornagar, Rajendranagar and Medchal. Excise officials expect the auctions on June 7 and subsequent dates, if shops remained unsold on the first day, to fetch Rs. 4,000-4,400 crore (last time it was Rs. 3,200 crore) which is 15 to 20 per cent more than the projected collection with the revised upset price. The auctions had resulted in 100 per cent increase in lease amount over the previous collection in 2008, but officials said it might not be the same this time.

Pre-poll ambience

The auctions were driven by pre-election atmosphere which led to stiff competition for shops and soaring of lease prices.