Khammam: Ganeshampadu, a village in Penuballi mandal in this district, adjacent to Kokilampadu in Tiruvuru mandal in Andhra Pradesh, is seeing intense activity in the Covid19 situation.
Nearly 100 people from Kokilampadu used to come to belt shops in Ganeshpadu for booze every day. Double or treble this number arrives from other villages of Tiruvuru mandal to liquor shops in Ganeshpadu. The flow of such people continues even in these pandemic times.
There are 48 such villages near the AP borders in Sattupalli and Madhria assembly segments that are identified as Covid19 super spread areas by the Telangana government.
Though the government asked excise officials to stop the belt shops in these villages, it was not easy. Many are evading the check posts on the Telangana side and reaching the belt shops through interior routes.
The belt shop owners stopped their activity two days after police and excise officials swooped down on the area, but resumed sales later.
Supplying liquor to belt shops is more lucrative than selling it to boozers coming to the liquor shops in the mandals like Vemsoor, Penuballi, Madhira, Kallur, Tallada, Bonakal, Mudigonda and Nelakondapalli in Khammam district.
Nearly 50 to 60 Covid19 positive cases are being reported from these two constituencies every day. The state medical and health principal secretary and director visited the two constituencies and asked officials to check the pandemic spread there.
Interestingly, however, the government has not relaxed the timings for opening of shops in Madhira and Sattupalli assembly constituencies on par with those in the other areas. The lockdown in these segments is from 2pm to 6am in these two segments against 6pm to 6am in the remaining parts of the state.
Social activist in Penuballi, Prasad, said closing of licensed liquor shops during the lockdown is the only way to check the menace. “Belt shops will prevail even in lockdown until the time the licensed shops are opened,” he said....