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Facing graft charges, Kerala govt cancels nod for breweries

Press Trust of India  |  Thiruvananthapuram 

The government Monday cancelled the sanction accorded for setting up new breweries and a distillery in the state over which corruption charges have been levelled by the Congress-led UDF opposition.

Days after rejecting the charges, said the government cancelled the sanction to avoid further "confusion" over the issue at a time when everybody had to stand united for rebuilding the state after the devastating floods.

The CPI(M)-led LDF government's decision came hours after the (UDF) announced a state-wide agitation over the issue, alleging "nepotism" and "corruption" in awarding sanction for the breweries and distillery.

The UDF has alleged that corruption to the tune of crores of rupees had taken place in sanctioning the breweries and distillery, and demanded a comprehensive probe into it.

However, the reiterated there was nothing wrong in sanctioning the new breweries and distillery, and accused the Opposition of trying to create a "smokescreen" and tarnish the image of the government over the issue.

Vijayan, who had last week strongly defended the grant of the sanction, made it clear that the government would continue its policy of giving permission for new breweries and distilleries. It was not in violation of the declared liquor policy of the ruling Left (LDF), he said.

"It has been decided to cancel the sanction given for new breweries and distillery in the state. But, it does not mean that the government will step back from allowing such facilities in the state," he told reporters here.

At present, 40 per cent of total beer requirement and eight per cent of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) needed for the state are procured from neighbouring states, the said.

"So, the government still feels that new breweries and distilleries are essential...interested parties can apply for sanction which will be given after the necessary technical inspection," he said.

Terming the controversy over the new breweries as "baseless" and "unnecessary", Vijayan alleged the opposition had attempted to create suspicion among the public.

of the Opposition in the state assembly Ramesh Chennithala welcomed the government decision but stood by his allegation of corruption in the grant of the sanction. He said the had been exposed on the issue.

The government had decided to cancel the sanctioning of breweries and distillery as it had been "caught red-handed" for "corruption", he said.

Chennithala also wanted a comprehensive probe into the grant of the sanction and said the agitation demanding the resignation of T P Ramakrishnan would continue.

He had earlier alleged that the new breweries and distillery were sanctioned through the "back door" without making any changes in the LDF's declared liquor policy.

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

First Published: Mon, October 08 2018. 15:35 IST