Business Standard

Congress slams Left government's liquor policy in Kerala

IANS  |  Thiruvananthapuram 

Top leaders in on Monday slammed the for tinkering with the policy and attacked those who were quite vocal when the was ruling the state but "have now become silent".

The party organised statewide protests on Monday against the new policy which allowed reopening of more than 200 bars in three- and four-star hotels, which were closed when the previous Oommen Chandy came out with its policy in 2015. The aim was to enforce prohibition in the state by 2023.

Following the release of the new policy of incumbent Left Democratic Front (LDF), most of the remaining closed bars are also expected to reopen shortly.

Inaugurating the statewide protest in the capital city, Chandy called upon all those who were strongly protesting when the was ruling the state to speak out against the ruling Left government's new policy.

"Such people should now come out in the open to fight the new policy, as this policy is going to be detrimental to the interests of the state. The Left has overturned the policy that was envisaged to enforce total prohibition in our state in a phased manner," said Chandy.

The former Chief Minister had closed down nearly 700 bars in 2015, with available in just two dozen five-star hotels in the state.

The Left not only amended the rules to allow bars to operate along the state and national highways but also reduced the mandatory distance between vends and educational and religious institutions from 200 metres to 50 metres.

"During the tenure of Chandy, every time the state opened the topic of policy, various Christian bishops heading different churches in the state and anti-bodies came out with strong warnings, saying any policy favourable to the industry would be opposed," a leader said.

But since July this year, after the Vijayan came out with the new policy, all such organisations appeared to have gone silent, he added.

State President M.M. Hassan, while inaugurating the protest at Ernakulam, said the new policy was an outcome of the secret deal worked out ahead of the 2016 assembly elections between the lobby and the Left.

State unit Vice President V.D. Satheeshan, who inaugurated the protest in Kannur, said the time was not far away when one would see bars attached to schools in Kerala, as the distance from a vend to an educational institution had now been reduced to 50 metres.

Former state party President V.M. Sudheeran, who inaugurated the protest in Kozhikode, said the State Excise Commissioner would come out with misleading figures and statistics, which also facilitated tweaking of the policy.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, September 11 2017. 17:40 IST