Following protests from local residents and prohibitionists, Kerala State Beverages Corporation Limited (Bevco) has decided to relocate the controversial liquor outlet on O.P. Raman Road at Moolampally near the District Collectorate to a building on Pavamani Road in the city.
Excise Department officials closed the outlet on Tuesday night. Residents’ associations led by Malaparamba ward councillor K.C. Shobitha and prohibition campaigners under the aegis of Kerala Madya Nirodana Samithi had been protesting against the outlet since the liquor outlet began functioning on October 3.
Bevco had secured a favourable order of interim stay from the Kerala High Court despite the corporation issuing an order to shut down the outlet citing that it had failed to get dangerous and offensive (D & O) trade licence from the civic body. The city corporation council at its meeting also rejected Bevco’s request for opening an outlet in a residential area.
Bevco’s decision to close the outlet comes close on the heels of the anti-liquor activists moving a petition in the High Court. The local Congress committee and Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha had raised opposition against the outlet that was relocated from Puthiyara. The protesters said the shop was located close to a nursery school, a mosque and the civil station.
However, Bevco MD H. Venkatesh said the outlet had been shifted from Puthiyara to O.P. Raman to reduce the inconvenience caused to people standing in long queue. The shop was relocated as the area had parking problems and unnecessary agitations, he added.
Plans had been afoot to start a premium outlet attached to the outlet. Now, steps would be taken to expand the outlet by acquiring additional space at the building on Pavamani Road.