Khammam: The blackmail tactics of the liquor syndicate to extract more profits by holding a bandh has paid dividends. They may have lost business during the two intervening days, but they did allegedly get some assurances from the Excise department.
Sixty per cent of liquor shop owners have been resorting to the malpractice of selling liquor at a price higher than the MRP, keeping shops open after 11 pm, adulterating premium liquor with low price liquor and not maintaining registers of transactions and details of workers in their shops.
There are 147 liquor shops and 42 bars and restaurants in the district. The government has been giving the shops 16 per cent margin on the MRP of various brands.
There have been many complaints from consumers on how liquor shops have been violating the norms, more so in the Agency area where too liquor adulteration has been taking place.
The government formed teams and booked 170 cases against the liquor shops that were violating various rules.
There were 10 cases of those who were selling liquor more than the MRP stated, the Excise officials imposing on the shops a fine of up to Rs 2 lakh. Some of the shops were also asked to close for violation.
A cold war like situation has been prevailing ever since between the liquor syndicate and excise department. The liquor syndicate, which did not want to lose its abnormal profits, evolved a plan to exert pressure on the Excise department and government to overturn the cases filed against them, which took the form of the two-day bandh, on July 29 and 30. Liquor transactions worth `12 crore were hit due to shops being closed over those two days.
The government reacted by directing the Excise officials to talk to the liquor shop owners. They are said to have arrived at a tacit understanding that the Excise department would curb its raids and booking of cases.