Keeping the liquor policy in focus Congress-led UDF on Wednesday suggested further tightening of the measure if it returns to power.
Releasing the election manifesto in Thiruvananthapuram, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that the liquor policy was misused by few individuals by converting the three and four star hotels to five star hotels to get exemptions.
Kerala CM Oommen Chandy released the party manifesto along with State Congress President V M Sudheeran, KC-M leader and former Finance Minister K M Mani, IUML leader and Industries Minister P K,Kunhalikutty.
Saying that UDF will not sanction foreign liquor bar licence to five star hotels converted from three or four star category Chandy said that the manifesto made it clear that total prohibition in 10 years time was the objective of the UDF.
“Even if the Centre gives five star statuses, state government would bring some more conditions for sanctioning licence to operate bars,” Chandy said in Thiruvananthapuram.
The UDF’s liquor policy that came into force in 2014 allowed sale of foreign liquor in five star hotels only and closed down more than 700 bars in the state. The policy proposed total prohibition in 10 years time by reducing availability of liquor.
But the opposition parties CPI-M and BJP questioned the sincerity of the UDF’s policy and its claim that it stood for total prohibition. LDF had alleged that UDF’s “propaganda” that it stood for total prohibition was a lie as more bars were given licence to serve foreign liquor
The 63-page manifesto also promised free bicycles to eighth standard girl students and laptops at concessional rate to students in government and aided colleges.
Manifesto proposed to expand pilgrim, health, festival and medical tourism in Kerala through Public Private Partnership (PPP).
It also focuses on the growth of agriculture sector with special emphasis on rubber farmers and promised interest free loans to farmers.
Subsidy to organic farming, steps to check price raise of essential commodities and three cent land free to landless people are some other promises of the UDF.
Kerala will go for Assembly Polls on May 16 in a single phase, while Congress lead UDF is going with Oommen Chandy as Their CM candidate, LDF and BJP have not declared their front runner.