Liquor shops in the State were sold out for the next two years on Monday at skyrocketing prices, thanks to huge rates quoted by the participants in the recent tenders.

A shop at Nadikudi village of Dachepalli mandal in Guntur district was bid for Rs. 5.21 crore while another shop in the same mandal realised Rs. 4.92 crore. There were two shops each in Visakhapatnam city and Ranga Reddy district, including one at Old Alwal here, which also crossed the Rs. 4 crore mark.

The opening of tenders across the State on Monday marked one of the bitterest competitions in liquor business to corner the shops. It threw up the prospect of earning revenue for the government much in excess of the initial estimate of Rs. 4,500 crore. About 48,600 bids were received for 6,596 shops which was 125 per cent in excess of the demand in 2008. The government earned a non-refundable fee of Rs. 48.6 crore from applications alone.

The results of the tenders showed a marked shift in the focus of the business from the State capital to districts. Ranga Reddy district which had topped the tenders two years ago appeared to have underperformed as there were only two shops that were sold for Rs. 4 crore plus and three other shops for Rs. 3 crore plus. Excise authorities explained that the slowdown in real estate market and Information Technology had much to do for the slackening of business.

On the other hand, not a single shop was sold in excess of Rs. 3 crore and 18 shops received single tenders in Hyderabad. The lesser rates in the city were attributed to lack of interest in the business due to the problem of finding ‘mulgis' to locate the shops. Finding accommodation was particularly difficult in the old city. The brother of a Congress MP retained his mulgi on orders from the Rent Control court.

Syndicates

An interesting feature of the process was the filing of single tenders for 28 shops in faction-ridden Kadapa district, suggesting a high rate of syndicates. The highest rate quoted for any shop in the district was only Rs. 1.82 crore at Proddutur.