Hyderabad, May 6: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy Sunday promised to shut down, in a phased manner, "belt shops" or illegal outlets of licensed liquor shops spread across the state.
He made the announcement while addressing a public meeting at Eluru in West Godavari district when union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh made a fervent appeal.
Ramesh said the chief minister should take the initiative as the women were strongly protesting against the belt shops. He said the liquor shops were badly affecting the lives of women, especially in rural areas.
Pointing towards K. Bapi Raju, chairman of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) seated besides the chief minister, Ramesh advised Kiran Reddy to take an oath on his hands to root out the belt shops.
Responding to the request, the chief minister admitted that belt shops were carrying out illegal sale of liquor. He said it was difficult to remove all of them at once but promised to control them in a phased manner.
Hundreds of belt shops are being run across the state by the powerful liquor syndicates. The raids by Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) last year exposed the nexus between politicians, liquor traders, officials and even journalists in running the syndicates.