Kerala cabinet on Wednesday ratified the new liquor policy of the Congress led UDF government which envisaged to shut down bars attached to hotels below the five-star category as part of its plans to reduce availability of liquor.
The cabinet however deferred a decision on issues related to licences to beer and wine parlours and elite clubs that serve liquor.
Several matters, including issues related to beer and wine parlours and clubs serving liquor has to be incorporated in the new policy, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told reporters.
These issues would be taken up at the next cabinet meeting, Chandy said, adding, ruling UDF had taken a strong decision now to close down about 730 bars.
Meanwhile, as part of new policy, 312 bars attached to hotels below the five-star category would be served notices on Thursday asking them to close their bars by September 12.
Apart from closing down 312 bars, the government had also decided not to renew licences of 418 bars that remained shut since April for want of required facilities.
The radical policy shift to sharply cut down on liquor trade was taken by the UDF leadership meet last week when it met to consider the fate of the 418 closed bars.
Marking a radical shift from the decades-old liquor policy, the UDF leadership last week decided to withdraw licences for bars for all hotels below the five-star category.
The bar issue had snowballed into a crisis gripping the UDF after the KPCC president V M Sudheeran openly took a tough position against re-opening of the bars.
Chandy briefs Antony
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today briefed senior Congress leader A K Antony on the UDF Government’s new liquor policy that sharply cuts down on availability of alcoholic drinks.
Chandy, however, denied reports in a section of media that he had conveyed to his senior colleague his resentment at the way sections in the state leadership turned the bar issue into an unnecessary row and even sought to create an impression that he stood for the interests of liquor barons.