Hyderabad: ‘Belt shops’ flourish as illegal liquor sale goes unabated

In the Rachakonda police area, belt shops run under many police stations, particularly in rural pockets and highways.

Hyderabad: Illegal liquor outlets, ‘belt shops’, seem to be flourishing in the city and its outskirts right under the nose of the city police.

Belt shops thrive on highways, slums and near auto/ taxi stands where liquor is sold 24/7 illegally at a higher price than the MRP. Usually, belt shops owners bring liquor in huge quantities from licensed outlets for resale. However, there are also reports the liquor is illegally being manufactured in the neighbouring districts of Hyderabad.

Illegal liquor companies don’t pay any taxes to the government and earn huge profits by diverting the liquor bottles to belt shops. In Cyberabad, the Special Operations Teams following the Model Code of Conduct in view of Lok Sabha elections took up a special drive to arrest the sale of liquor at belt shops.

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The police caught 29 people in Cyberabad on Sunday for running belt shops. Since the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) for the Lok Sabha polls came into force last week, the Cyberabad SOT raided close to 100 belt shops in different police stations. The Cyberabad police jurisdiction includes the IT sector and some outskirts adjoining neighbouring districts.

However, illegal outlets are not limited to Cyberabad alone. Under the Hyderabad and Rachakonda police areas, belt shops continue to operate in areas like RN colony at Falaknuma, Pardhiwada Puranapul, Jiyaguda, Tappachabutra, Alkapuri – Golconda, Lalithbagh Bagh Bolarum, Singareni colony Saidabad etc.

In Rachakonda belt shops run under many police stations, particularly in rural pockets and highways, said a senior police official. Belt shops cause a loss to the government if the liquor is illegally channelled and not routed through Telangana Beverages Corporation.

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