The Andhra Pradesh government on Friday cancelled the licenses of all existing bars in the state. With this, all bars have been given until December 31, 2019, to wind up their operations. The state said that it would issue new licenses from January 1, 2020.

Government is planning to shut down 40 percent of the bars in the state as part of the government’s plan to implement total prohibition in phases and also unveiled a new bar policy, which will come into effect from January 1, 2020, and will remain in force for two years.

Under this policy, the government has fixed Rs 10 lakh as the license application fee for opening a bar. The licenses will be issued through a lottery system.

Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has directed officials to shut down 40 percent of the 798 bars in the state.

The YSRCP government also proposes to increase the liquor price served in bars to further discourage its consumption.

 

In an order issued here on Friday, the government said reducing the number of bars, increasing the licence fee and reducing the business hours of bars under the new policy was aimed further curtailing the availability of alcoholic beverages to the general public.

 

According to the order, following representations from public at large, especially from various women welfare organizations, the government strongly felt that there is an imperative need to further reduce the availability of liquor so as to avoid road accidents due to drunken driving, domestic violence, crime and other social evils caused under the influence of alcohol.

It also felt that such curtailment of liquor availability would save the poorer sections from financial ruin.

It noted that in compliance with constitutional obligations, the government has taken a policy decision to implement prohibition in a phased manner and regards it as one of its top priorities.

The YSRCP government has already reduced the number of retail liquor shops from 4,380 to 3,500. The shops are being run by state-owned A.P. State Beverages Corporation Ltd.