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Chandy dismisses charges of surrendering to 'liquor lobby'

Chandy dismisses charges of surrendering to liquor lobby

Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Wednesday dismissed KPPC President V M Sudheeran's charge that the government had surrendered to "liquor lobby" and changes in the policy were made due to external pressure.

The government had made "practical changes" in the liquor policy after realising the plight of those workers who lost jobs due to closure of bars and adverse impact on tourism sector, Chandy said during cabinet briefing here.

Rejecting Sudheeran's remark that by making changes in the liquor policy the Congress-led UDF government lost a chance to come back to power in 2016 Assembly polls, Chandy said UDF would return to power as it was confident that it would succeed in creating awareness among people on the policy.

"What ever be the policy, it is natural to bring changes considering the practicality and reality of the situation," Chandy said.

Ever since he took over as KPCC chief earlier this year, Sudheeran had spearheaded the anti-liquor campaign and was adamant that the closed bars in the state due to poor quality should not be reopened.

Sudheeran had termed the changes as "virtual sabotage of the policy which got support from all sections in the society". He was against making any amendments in the liquor policy.

The government had in August announced a new liquor policy aimed at reducing availability of liquor and bring total prohibition in a phased manner by closing down bars and liquor outlets. It was widely seen as an outcome of the pressure from Sudheeran.

However, under pressure from various quarters, the government brought amendments in the policy on December 18 by deciding to allow beer and wine parlours in the 418 closed bars and lift the resolve to declare Sundays as dry day.

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