Thiruvananthapuram: Cabinet on Wednesday decided to amend the Kerala Municipalities Act and Kerala Panchayat Raj Act taking away the provision which made it mandatory to obtain the No Objection Certificate (NOC) of local bodies for opening liquor shops or shifting the existing ones.
Cabient decided to recommend to the Governor to promulgate an ordinance by amending the Panchayat Raj and Municipality Act allowing the opening of new liquor shops or shifting liquor shops based on only license issued by Excise Department. The Cabinet decision comes in the wake of reports that the new liquor policy which is to be announced before June 30 might restore the licenses of three star bar hotels and above. The state government clarified that the amendment to clause 447 clause of Municipality Act and clause 232 of Panchayati Raj act was to ensure a uniform Abkari Policy and to end the discrimination between the existing license holders and the new applicants.
With the amendments to the existing rules, the powers of local bodies in granting license to liquor shops will cease to exist. Earlier, Cabinet accepted the excise minister’s proposals in this regard. Once the ordinance is promulgated, just excise department permission would be enough to open new liquor shops or to shift the existing liquor shops including beverages corporation outlets to comply with 500 meters from highway stipulation. The local bodies NOC was made mandatory for opening liquor shops by the previous Oommen Chandy Government.