Rajahmundry: Since the state government managed to shut down most of the unauthorised liquor retail outlets, popularly known as belt shops, to ensure sale of liquor at permitted outlets at MRP, the excise authorities face blame for road mishaps involving drunk drivers.
Puliramannagudem villagers from Buttaigudem mandal in West Godavari hold the excise authorities responsible for an accident involving three youngsters on a bike.
They flayed the decision to shut down the belt shops. Those in the habit of consuming liquor travel several kilometres to the liquor outlet. They consume liquor at the outlet and drive back dangerously.
Three youngsters fell from their bike and suffered injuries while returning home after consuming liquor elsewhere as no liquor was available in their village. At least three accidents have been reported in the village recently. Excise authorities say there are two permitted liquor outlets in Buttaigudem mandal.
The excise authorities are getting similar complaints from other areas too where the tipplers are finding it difficult to get a peg of booze nearby.
Excise authorities admit that the number of road accidents especially on the national and state highways, has gone up after the belt shops were shut.
West Godavari excise deputy commissioner Y.B. Bhaskar Rao said, “We have shut down unauthorised liquor outlets as per directions of the state government. Riding or driving vehicles under the influence of liquor is a crime as it endangers safety of driver and other road users.”