Focus on people crossing over to other States for liquor

Telangana Prohibition and Excise Department personnel are keeping an eye on people at border check-posts, patrolling on other routes.

The news of liquor shops reopening in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka after over 40 days has spread real fast in Telangana too. This opened the possibility of people from here, desperate to secure alcohol, crossing over to the neighbouring States to quench their ‘thirst’. Anticipating this, the Telangana Prohibition and Excise Department personnel are keeping an eye on people at border check-posts, patrolling on other routes.

However, a few officials opined that they might not be able to stop if someone chooses forests, fields or other places across the long-stretching borders to cross over. The districts which share borders with Karnataka are Mahabubnagar, Vikarabad and Sangareddy while Nagarkurnool, Jogulamba-Gadwal are some of the districts which share border with AP.

“We will have to be extra alert till the wine shops are opened in our State too. But there is only so much we can do to prevent people from going to other States. What can we do if one crosses through the forests in Vikarabad district into Karnataka? It’s up on people too to avoid contracting the virus,” said a senior Excise official.

Soon after relaxation was announced, the department’s officials got on to the task of charting action plan as movement of people could lead to further spread of the virus. They spoke to their counterparts in other States to know the number of shops that would be open, their location and other details.

Focus is more on places which border red zones in the neighbouring States. Case in point, Jogulamba-Gadwal shares border Kurnool district. “Seven out of 22 shops were open in the neighbouring district. We have our Excise inspectors and constables at check-posts. Besides, our teams patrol along sub-routes,” said K Vijay Bhaskar, Excise superintendent (Gadwal and Wanaparthy).

Similar strategy is adopted by officials in Mahabubnagar, Vikarabad, Sangareddy and other districts

“There are fields along the Sangareddy-Bidar border. Earlier, people from here used to go there for work. We will be be vigilant at border check-posts and sub-routes. But what are we supposed to do if someone chooses those fields to cross over? Besides, we suspect there might be some dealers in neighbouring States who will sell some quota of liquor at hiked prices to people in Telangana rather than at MRP to locals there,” said an official who did not want his name to be quoted.

One of the arguments made by people who are eagerly waiting for alcohol shops to open is “State government will get revenue from liquor sales”. However, wine shop owners said financial reality might beat such expectations. They said that with daily wage workers, people from poor background out of work, sales will come down after initial spike.

“The sales could be high for initial two to three days. But it might drop thereafter as a large section of people who are out of work do not have enough money. We might sell all our existing stock for which we already paid money to the State government. Depending on demand we buy stocks. If there is less demand, revenue generated will be low,” said D Venkateshwara Rao, president of Telangana Wine Dealers Association.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 6:08:30 PM |

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