Taking its first big step towards scrapping the UDF Government’s liquor policy, the LDF Government on Wednesday decided not to close down any more liquor outlets on October 2.
The decision in this regard was taken by the Cabinet on Wednesday. As per a decision taken by the UDF Government in 2014, 10 per cent outlets of the Bevco and the Kerala State Co-operatives Consumers’ Federation Ltd (Consumerfed) were to be shut on October 2 every year. The status quo will continue until the new liquor policy is announced.
Earlier in the day, Excise Minister T P Ramakrishnan informed the Assembly that the new liquor policy would be announced soon as the existing policy was ineffective, and besides, drug abuse cases were on the rise.
At present, the state has a total of 306 liquor outlets; 270 run by Bevco and 36 run by Consumerfed.
A total of 78 liquor outlets were closed since the UDF announced its liquor policy.In 2014, the government shut 39 outlets, 34 of the 338 Bevco outlets and five of the 46 Consumerfed shops.
Later, in January 2015, following a court directive concerning liquor outlets on national and state highways, 13 more were shut, including one run by Consumerfed.
On October 2, 2015, 26 more liquor shops downed shutters. Of these, 22 shops were run by Bevco and four by Consumerfed.