Amaravati: As a first step towards imposing prohibition in Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Saturday asked the officials to shut "belt shops" or illegal outlets of licensed liquor shops in the state.

The Chief Minister said stringent action should be taken against those running such shops, and directed officials to cancel the license of dealers running the illegal outlets.

Mr Reddy, who took oath as the Chief Minister on Thursday, held a meeting with senior officials to review the state's finances.

He said his government was committed to fulfil its poll promise of imposing total prohibition in phases.

Jagan, as the YSR Congress Party chief is popularly known, said "belt shops" should be removed to protect the interests of poor and happiness should prevail in every family by removing this menace.

"If necessary, the government should consider running liquor shops on its own," an official statement quoted him as saying. He asked the officials to study the best practices being observed in other states.

Mr Reddy said awareness and rehabilitation programmes should be conducted to distance the poor from liquor.

He also asked the officials to prepare reports on financial status of the state to place before 15th Finance Commission stressing the need for according special category status to Andhra Pradesh.

He said officials should explain the present financial situation and why the state needs special category status to overcome the financial crisis.

Mr Reddy also wanted the officials to come out with innovative ideas to improve the financial condition without burdening the common man. He suggested a green tax on industrial waste, value addition to red sanders, getting loans with low interest rate and a sand policy.

He expressed surprise that under the previous government, funds yielded through loans by various corporations with counter-guarantee from the state government were diverted.

The Chief Minister said financial discipline should be maintained by everyone. He said the excise and prohibition income should not be considered as a mere revenue source.

A state government probe pointed to the alleged inability of Globarena Technologies Pvt Ltd to handle the massive amount of data for holding the exam.

Analysts and opposition leaders have alleged that the tender criterion about capacity and experience in dealing with the answer sheets of 9.78 lakh students was allegedly relaxed or waived.

The probe report also claimed "no significant variation has been observed in the pass percentage of 2019 when compared with 2018".

The results row has also taken a political turn with opposition parties accusing Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, or KCR as he is popularly known, of inaction.

"We are demanding a judicial probe into this. This is a huge scam. The company that was given the contact for end-to-end technical support was simply not qualified to handle the future of 9.7 lakh children," BJP Telangana chief K Laxman told NDTV.

The Congress also wrote to KCR demanding suspension of the BIE secretary over "callous and corrupt practices" and that the Chief Minister award Rs. 25 lakh to families of the students who committed suicide. (IANS)

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