The ongoing Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) raids on liquor syndicates and arrest of benami persons have shown impact on liquor shops’ bidding, which was completed in Krishna district on Tuesday.

On the last day on Tuesday, a total of 3,718 applications were received for 292 shops out of 335 shops in the district. Applications were not filed for 43 shops located in Vijayawada, Gannavaram, Kaikaluru and Gudivada areas. The highest, 70 applications, were received for a shop in Chevendrapalem village in Pedana mandal. About 25 shops got only one application, said the Excise Department officials. Process of allotment of shops through lottery system was in progress till late in the night.

The craze for liquor business was on ample display at the Zilla Parishad office here where a few thousands of traders gathered to test their luck in the allotment of liquor shops by lottery.

They reached the venue well before the lotteries started to be taken at 3 p.m by when the area resembled a war zone as a huge number of activists of TDP, Lok Satta, CPI, CPI(M) and their frontal organisations confronted with the police in protest against the new excise policy.

Hundreds of protestors breezed past the security cordon forcing the police to take them into custody. Those detained included TDP leaders Mannava Subba Rao and N. Rajanarayana, former minister Sanakkayala Aruna, and CPI district secretary Muppalla Nageswara Rao.

For 320 out of a total 342 shops, 5,976 applications were received (there were no takers for 22 shops).

Tough task

Tight security arrangements were made to prevent any untoward incident and crowd control proved to be a tough task for the police as they were far outnumbered by the protestors, who shouted slogans against the State government and burnt an effigy of Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy.

They wanted the new excise policy to be scrapped saying that it remained silent on curbing the menace of belt shops. The policy has also not spelt out measures for regulating the liquor syndicates which became a fountainhead of corruption. The lottery system would be of no use in checking the irregularities.

It’s only a notional departure from the conventional system of auctioning through the sealed tender route. A good number of the applications were filed in fictitious names, the Opposition parties alleged.

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