Hyderabad: In a record, the state government has earned Rs 750 crore as fee from the sale of application forms for liquor shop licences. The money is non-refundable, meaning applicants do not get the money back if they are not allotted a liquor shop. Two years ago, the figure stood at Rs 412 crore.
There was a rush at excise counters across the state on Wednesday, the last day, for submitting the application forms.
Though the deadline ended at 4 pm, officials were accepting application forms till late in the night as the applicants were still waiting in long queues.
The state has 2,216 wine shops. Till Monday, the government had received 10,842 applications. Another 9,788 were received on Tuesday. Warangal, Khammam, Nalgonda and Ranga Reddy excise divisions received a large number of applications.
On Wednesday, it is estimated that more than 20,000 applications were received. Liquor merchants from AP, where the government is taking over the business, also applied for wine shops in Telangana state. Some applied directly and others through their relatives and friends settled in the state
Revenue special chief secretary Somesh Kumar said the earnings from application fees would top `800 crore when the final figures are in. He said the liquor shops will be allotted on October 18 across the state. The state government announced its new liquor policy for two years commencing from November 1 2019 to October 30, 2021. The new licencees will have to commence their business with effect from November 1.
Govt acts against liquor syndicates
Some liquor contractors are forming syndicates to grab wine shops by threatening other applicants to exit the race and leave the field clear for them.
Some others are trying another tack: They are telling the applicants that they will sell liquor at lower rates and drive them out of business.
After this came to the notice of officials, the state government has warned liquor syndicates of severe action including sending them to jail for two years. To this effect, excise commissioner and revenue special chief secretary Somesh Kumar issued guidelines to control the liquor syndicates.
Mr Kumar said, ‘It has come to notice that a few applicants are threatening other interested parties from applying for wine shop licences on various counts to discourage them and to form cartels causing loss of revenue to the state. They are likely to resort to sell the liquor at lower rates which is against the public interest causing loss to other retailers as a unfair trade practice’.
Mr Kumar said those do contravene the laws are liable for prosecution under Section 36 (b) and 41 of the Telangana Excise Act.