Excise employees join Telangana strike


Hyderabad: Thousands of employees of the excise department in Andhra Pradesh’s Telangana region joined the “people’s strike” for a separate state Wednesday, the 23rd day of a crippling stir that has led to massive losses.

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From constables to joint commissioners, about 4,000 employees of the excise department have launched the indefinite strike in support of a Telangana state.

Officials fear “dry days” in Hyderabad and nine other districts of the region. If the strike continues for next few days, liquor shops in the region will be closed for want of supplies.

“It will be a complete strike with no employee attending to his duties,” said A. Chandraiah Goud, chairman of the Telangana excise employees’ Joint Action Committee.

A section of employees had been staying away from work since last week.

Liquor supply to the retailers across the region and even parts of Rayalaseema region will come to a halt as the liquor is supplied from distilleries and breweries to the depots only after excise employees give their clearance. The stocks from the depots are also lifted after certification by excise personnel.

The region has 15 distillers, four breweries and 17 depots. The strike is likely to cause a revenue loss of Rs.50 crore every day to the government.

Telangana accounts for about 60 percent of 2,500 lakh litres of liquor per annum in the state.

Liquor is the biggest revenue earner for the state, contributing Rs.1,300 crore to the exchequer every month.

The strike will deal another blow to liquor licensees, including retailers, bars and hotels, whose sales have already dropped by 60 percent due to the ongoing general strike, which entered its 23rd day Wednesday.

Over 3,000 licensees in Telangana will also not be able to pay the fourth installment of their license fee this month. Every licensee is to shell out Rs.25 lakh towards the installment.

The retailers were hit hard at a time when they were expecting over 20 percent additional revenues during Dussehra festivities.

The loss of excise revenue will come as a big blow to the government, which is already losing revenues of over Rs.200 crore every day for the last 23 days.

This is in addition to Rs.25 crore loss the state-owned Singareni Collieries is suffering daily due to lack of coal production.

State-owned Road Transport Corporation (RTC) is also incurring a loss of Rs.7 crore daily as its buses remain off the roads in Telangana.

Over 800,000 employees of the government, teachers, workers of Singareni and RTC are on strike for separate state.