Kerala may reopen 700 bars in state in excise policy overhaul
Mumbai: Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac has hinted that that the Left-led government in southern Indian state may lift restrictions on bars. The previous government had constricted the sale of liquor in the state as part of its ten-year alcohol phase out plan.
The state has chalked out a fresh excise policy and it expects to make it public by June 30. Minister Isaac has said that earlier government's policy has hit tourism in the state drastically.
When asked about chances of reopening some 700 bars, Isaac told NDTV, "that is for the excise policy, which will come out very soon, to reveal. But one thing is certain -- Kerala's tourism has taken a big beating. Something has to be done."
Earlier, the Supreme Court had issued an order banning sale of liquor along highways owing to which a number of government outlets had to shut down. It is estimated that the total loss to Kerala's tourism ex-chequer, according to Tourism Director P Bala Kiran, was around Rs 4,000-5,000 crore a year, NDTV report said.
Previous Congress-led government had brought in an anti-liquor policy under which bars across the state either downed their shutters or had turned into beer and wine parlours.
The then state government had allowed sale of alcohol only at five-star hotels and government-run outlets. More than 700 bars shut down as part of the government's plan for a liquor-free Kerala by 2023, the report said.