The ongoing impact of the Corona virus crisis has impacted the travel industry in unimaginable ways. Reports from Tirupati indicate that taxi drivers have now started bootlegging and peddling liquor into the State from Karnataka. The close proximity of the neighbouring State and cheap liquor availability has emerged as a lucrative option for some.
With the absence of work, taxi drivers are forced to turn to peddle illicit alcohol. With liquor prices skyrocketing in Andhra Pradesh, they have opted to habitual peddling. According to a report, as many as 22 taxi drivers were booked in the last three months.
Following are some of the recent notable arrests in the State for crimes related to liquor peddling:
- Six youth caught in Veerulapadu Mandal on July 7, 2020, for illegally importing liquor from Telangana
- M. Ajay Kumar, Sub-inspector, COVID Control Room arrested at Lingagudem border check-post with 451 bottles
- P. Hanusree, Bantumilli Prohibition and Excise Circle Inspector, Special Enforcement Bureau seized 106 bottles smuggled from Telangana
Disparate pandemic lock downs and restrictions over operation of tourist vehicles, the drivers have lost their livelihoods and struggled for survival. Among them, few forcefully changed the profession as peddlers. On the other hand, some of them are lured into the field for huge profits in illicit liquor after the State imposed prohibition. They started illegal liquor sales and supply in and around Tirupati. Contrary to claims made by the state government and the ruling party, a booming market with such huge demand in no way indicates that demand has fallen or people have stopped drinking.