In an order, the Andhra Pradesh government on Monday restricted the illegal transport of liquor into the state. The move comes in a bid to prohibit the illegal transport of liquor and to bar people from bringing in duty-free liquor into the state. With this order, an earlier order by the state’s Excise Department, that allowed people to carry three bottles of liquor without any excise duty or tax, has been revoked.
"This is not only resulting in loss of revenue to the exchequer but also transport of liquor through non-duty paid means," Andhra Special Chief Secretary Rajat Bhargava said in the latest order, adding several cases of liquor being brought into the state without any payment of fees had come to the notice of the government.
He said that the latest order is in tune with the statutory provisions that the state government has, under different excise laws.
The government in the order, as per the AP Excise Act 1968, said that transport of two litres of duty free liquor is allowed without any permit with respect to persons travelling from outside the country, as per Government of India norms. It further stated that no transport of any liquor which is manufactured outside the state will be permitted into Andhra without applicable duties and taxes unless there is prior permit granted by a competent authority.
Earlier, the High Court had ordered the state government to allow individuals to carry three litres of liquor. The latest move by the government appears to be aimed at curbing illegal transport of liquor from Karnataka, Telangana and other states which is being reported, given the hike in liquor prices in Andhra. Non-availability of the different brands of liquor was also said to be one of the reasons for the same.
Scores of cases have been registered against individuals who tried to illegally bring in the liquor from other states. The Special Enforcement Bureau (SEB) set up by the state government is conducting raids and searches across the state including on the borders to prevent "illegal" transport of liquor into the state.
Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has promised a phased prohibition in Andhra before the next elections in 2024. As part of the move, the state government has already taken over the retail and distribution of liquor and increased the cost of alcohol.