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Andhra Pradesh slowly makes its way towards total prohibition

All existing bars have been served notice to wind up their operations by December 31. New bar licences will be issued from January 1, but the number will be reduced by nearly 50%. Of the 798 existing bars in AP which had licences valid till 2022, only 401 will get licences. T

, TNN|
Nov 23, 2019, 11.15 AM IST
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Jaganmohan-Reddy-
This would be the first step towards total prohibition that CM Jaganmohan Reddy had promised ahead of assembly polls.
(This story originally appeared in on Nov 23, 2019)
AMARAVATI: The Andhra Pradesh government on Friday cancelled licences of all existing bars in the state. The excise commissioner has been directed to start the cancellation process as a first step towards total prohibition that chief minister Jaganmohan Reddy had promised ahead of assembly elections.

All existing bars have been served notice to wind up their operations by December 31. New bar licences will be issued from January 1, but the number will be reduced by nearly 50%. Of the 798 existing bars in AP which had licences valid till 2022, only 401 will get licences. The government will refund the existing licence fee proportionately. Licences under the new policy will be granted for two years.

The government directed the excise commissioner to fix the number of bars in each city and town by cutting down the existing figure by 50%. All star hotels and micro-breweries are exempt from the new policy and they would continue to operate on existing licences.

A bar owner told TOI on condition of anonymity that the new policy would be challenged in court. “We have paid licence fees till June 2020 and the licences could be renewed up to 2022. How can the government cancel them in the middle?”

The government had already removed private players from retail operations by taking over the management of liquor shops in October. The number of retail shops has been brought down to 3,500 from 4,380.

The daily business hours of retail liquor shops under the new policy have been reduced by four hours. They will now function from 11 am to 8 pm against 10 am to 11 pm. Bars will function between 11 am and 10 pm from January 1.

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