Andhra Pradesh

Excise law violators willface the music: Minister

Total prohibition in a phased manner, says Chief Minister

The Assembly on Monday passed the A.P. Prohibition (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and the A.P. Excise (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019, with voice vote. With this, the offences relating to Excise will be treated as non-bailable.

Tabling the Bill, Excise Minister K. Narayana Swamy said the Bills provide for stringent action against the offenders trading in illicit liquor and bars violating the law.

Intervening in the discussion, Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy said the government was committed to implementing total prohibition in a phased manner. Criminal cases would be booked against those manufacturing liquor, stocking and possessing or transporting liquor illegally.

It will be a non-bailable offence with a sentence of six months in jail and a fine of ₹2 lakh for the first time. If repeated, the fine will be increased to ₹5 lakh along with a jail term of six months. If bars violate the rules, the penalty will be double the licence fee on first conviction and on repetition, the licences will be cancelled, he said.

Decisive action

Mr. Jagan said that the government closed down all the 43,000 belt shops. The total number of bars was being brought down by 40%. Also, the government had done away with the permit rooms that were set up adjacent to liquor shops. The timings of the sale of liquor were also reduced.

“Women police personnel attached to village secretariats will keep a vigil and alert the authorities if there is any violation of the Excise Act,” he said.

The CM proposed a privilege motion against the Telugu Desam Legislature Party deputy leader K. Atchannaidu on the ground that he was misleading the Assembly about the new liquor policy that came into force on October 1. He insisted that it was the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) Government that took the bold step of imposing prohibition in a phased manner and not at one go as Mr. Atchannaidu kept repeating in the House.

Mr. Atchannaidu said the production and sale of illicitly distilled liquor and non-duty paid liquor had gone up after the new excise policy came into effect. Jaggery sales had also increased.

Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath Reddy said N. Chandrababu Naidu had watered down the total prohibition that was imposed by his father- in- law N.T. Rama Rao in 1994 and made it a household business after coming to power.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 11:58:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/excise-law-violators-willface-the-music-minister/article30322550.ece

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