Liquor shortage kills tipplers’ spirits across Telangana

The sudden vanishing of liquor brands is being attributed to the transition pangs, from the previous Excise policy to the new one.

By Author   |   Published: 5th Oct 2017   12:00 am Updated: 5th Oct 2017   12:22 am
Liquor Shortage in Telangana
Officials attribute the sudden shortage to disbursal problems, while shopkeepers say it is short supply. — Photo: Surya Sridhar

Hyderabad: Whiskey, vodka, rum and gin lovers have been spending sleepless nights in Telangana for the last few days. Nightmares of when they will be able to lay their hands on their favourite brands again have been haunting them.

The situation, despite wine shops remaining open till 11 pm as against the earlier deadline of 10 pm in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) limits, arose with brands such as White Mischief vodka, Blue Riband gin, McDowell’s rum and Director’s Special whiskey, disappearing from the shelves.

The sudden vanishing of these brands is being attributed to the transition pangs, from the previous Excise policy to the new one that came into effect on October 1. While shopkeepers allege that they were unable to lift sufficient stock from depots of Telangana State Beverages Corporation Limited (TSBCL) due to short supply, officials attribute the shortage to disbursal problems.

“How can we release stock when there are 2,216 licence holders thronging the 17 TSBCL depots all at once?” an official said.

Details of new licence holders — Aadhaar card, licence and PAN card numbers — should be first updated in the software. Staff was also not available due to consecutive holidays followed by disbursal problems leading to short supply in the stock, the official said. Despite the chaos, TSBCL did business worth Rs 500 crore in the last five days, an official said.

But, consumers’ nightmare will soon end, he said, since the supply is being gradually streamlined. For a start, 100 cartons of liquor and beer were supplied on October 2. This was gradually increased to 300 cartons on Wednesday.

TSBCL Chairman G Devi Prasad said there was no shortage of stock in depots. “As there is delay in updating details of new licence holders for carrying out transactions with depots online, the stock could not be released to license holders,” he said.

He said the situation will improve from Thursday as the process of updating details will be completed. Another depot official admitted that there was shortage of DSP whisky due to less production.