Guidelines for bar licenses meant to streamline system: Rosaiah



Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K Rosaiah on Tuesday rejected the criticism that new guidelines of the state government for issue of licenses to liquor outlets and bars would open floodgates for new vends and bars and said they were only meant to streamline the entire system.

"The new guidelines will not open floodgates for opening of new liquor vends and bars in the state as being alleged by the opposition parties. The government's intention is very clear: not to encourage liquor consumption," Rosaiah told reporters here this evening.

"Have no doubt. We are not for making money through sale of liquor. At the same time, we don't want any leakage of income that the government should genuinely get," the Chief Minister said.

Rosaiah, who also holds charge of the excise portfolio, said "yes, I am the Excise Minister as well and the policy decisions are taken at my level. But I have no knowledge about the functioning of the Excise department and, in fact, I too was left wondering about the new guidelines issued yesterday," he said.

The government, he said, was making efforts to reduce the number of liquor outlets, including bars, in the state and not issue licenses indiscriminately.

"More than 700 applications have been pending for the past two years for bar licenses but we have not granted them in tune with our policy. In fact, there are currently more than 400 bars across the state in excess of the permitted number. Since revoking those licenses would lead to problems, we are going slow," Rosaiah said.

Earlier, Leader of the Opposition N Chandrababu Naidu came down heavily on the state government over new bar licensing policy.

"We are unable to digest the fact that the government has come out with a policy to grant bar licenses in accordance with the population. There are no schools or hospitals in proportion to the population but the government is encouraging liquor vends to be opened without any cap. Soon, it will supply liquor through pipelines as well," Telugu Desam Party president N Chandrababu Naidu said.

TDP would strongly fight the liquor policy of the government, he said.

Praja Rajyam Party president K Chiranjeevi too was highly critical of the new bar licensing policy announced by the state government.

PTI