Wine shop dealers in the State have demanded that they should be allowed to legally run two or three ‘belt’ shops. AP Wine Dealers’ Association (APWDA) leaders and Excise Minister K. Parthasarathy were engaged in a heated argument at a meeting here on Friday when the former insisted on being allowed to operate a limited number of belt shops to ensure minimum returns. They even submitted a memorandum to this effect to the Minister. An infuriated Minister made it clear that the belt shops would not be allowed to run under any circumstances.

Mr. Parthasarathy, however, offered to consider their other demand for enhancement of trade margin from the present 21 per cent to 35 per cent by raising the MRP rates. He would take up the issue with the Chief Minister and make an announcement before the commencement of the new Excise year from July 1. The Minister indicated that the present excise policy would continue for 2013-14 also. The present licensees could renew their licences.