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No changes on basic premise of liquor policy, says K Babu

No changes on basic premise of liquor policy, says K Babu

Thiruvananthapuram: Excise Minister K. Babu Wednesday said in the Assembly that the government would not make any change on the basic premise of its new liquor policy.

“There won’t be any change on the basic premise of the liquor policy,” the Minister said while replying to an adjournment motion moved by A Pradeep Kumar, MLA, seeking to discuss the government’s move to make changes in the liquor policy.

Hinting that government would consider issuing licence to closed bars for opening beer and wine parlours, Babu said government wanted to reduce the supply of 'strong liquor' by making available 'light liquor'.

Indicating that there would be changes in liquor rules in Tourism sector and classifying Sundays as dry day, Babu said sale of liquor on Saturdays has increased and there was cancellation of 'Conference tourism' in the state.

Babu also said ruling UDF had approved the necessity for change and had entrusted the Ministry to take suitable decisions after considering all aspects.

Seeking leave for the motion, A Pradeepkumar (CPI-M) said the talk about changes clearly established the failure of the policy. He alleged that government was hand in glove with bar owners and that was the reason why government 'failed' in cases related to bar issue in courts.

The Speaker denied permission on the notice for adjournment motion. Following it, the entire Opposition walked out of the Assembly.

Before staging the walkout in protest, Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan said the new policy was an outcome of corruption to help bar owners.

On Monday, the Congress-led ruling UDF, after heated discussions, had finally given the nod for 'practical changes' to the liquor policy announced in August.

Since the new liquor policy aiming at total prohibition was announced, numerous organisations have opposed it but Congress president V.M. Sudheeran was unyielding.

Addressing reporters here after the more than three-hour long UDF meeting, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had also said the fundamentals of the liquor policy announced in August remain the same.

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