The 418 bars that have been closed since March end, in connection with the liquor policy of Kerala government, will now turn into beer and wine parlours, said Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Thursday. With the new tweak in the policy, Sundays will no more be dry days in Kerala.
Chandy said that the change in policy was due to the impact of the same over tourism industry. He has also mentioned about the worst situation of over 3,000 bar employees, who lost their jobs through the bar policy. He said, “Reports submitted by the tourism and labour secretaries indicated that the tourism industry would be affected and the employees working in the closed down bars would have a tough time.”
Adding, he said, “The decision to make all Sundays as dry days was mine and I thought if it would become a dry day, the families would be very happy. But it has not gone down well, so it was lifted.”
Amid, Excise minister K Babu has stated that there has not been much reduction in the consumption of liquor in the state though Sundays are observed as dry days in the state, whereas he mentioned that there is a hike of 40 per cent sale in foreign liquor on Saturdays.
However, the minister said, “The earlier decisions that no three and four-star hotels would be given license stands. Also every year from now on 10 per cent of the 383 state-owned retail liquor outlets will close down. Already the first batch of 39 has closed down. On October 2, 2024, total prohibition would be in force in Kerala.”
Meanwhile, there were protests from the Muslim League ministers, in the cabinet meeting held, expressing their strong dissent regarding the new policy, as they want total prohibition in one stroke. The twist in the liquor policy came after the strong protest from the KPCC chief VM Sudheeran and the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML).
On Sundays, bars will be now open from 9am to 10pm, which was earlier from 8am to 11pm.