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Government Took a Firm Stand on Liquor Policy

The State Government has not gone back on its liquor policy, but has in fact taken a stern stand, Excise Minister K Babu said on Wednesday.

The Minister was speaking after inaugurating the distribution of scholarships to children of the members of Kerala Abkari Workers Welfare Fund Board here.

The government allowed beer/wine parlours only after getting a written commitment on stamp paper from bar owners that the original employees would be reinstated, he said. The liquor policy elicited criticism because anti-liquor campaigners expected much from this government, the Minister said.

At present, a few bars are still functioning on the strength of court orders. If the court had not given them permission to function till February 10, they too would have been closed down, Babu said. As many as 53 outlets of the Kerala State Beverages Corporation were shut down after the UDF Government came to power. No new outlets were opened. It was also the UDF Government which handed local bodies the right to give permission for new bars, he said.

The government had also cut down the working hours of bars by five-and-a-half hours, he added. Excise Commissioner Anil Xavier was also present.