Kochi: The state government's Excise department on Wednesday told the Kerala High Court that several of the liquor outlets, which were under scrutiny to ascertain whether they were customer friendly, have been shifted to new buildings and facilities in many others have been upgraded.
Besides that online booking has also been introduced in 29 foreign liquor outlets to reduce crowding, the department has said in a memo filed in the high court which on September 16 had said the Excise authority was responsible for ensuring those coming to buy alcohol at such shops, are not treated as "cattle" and those watching this are not subjected to "ridicule and embarrassment".
According to the memo, filed through senior government pleader S Kannan, 10 shops have been shifted to new buildings and in 33 other outlets, infrastructure facilities -- like more counters and parking space -- have been upgraded or improved.
Besides that, to review steps taken by the Kerala State Beverages Corporation (BEVCO), a meeting with its Managing Director and its other officials was held on October 13 and the company has agreed to expedite its actions to upgrade the facilities for various shops, the Excise department has said.
Pursuant to several high court orders to ensure liquor outlets were customer friendly and prevent serpentine queues outside them, 96 such shops were being scrutinised by the Excise department.
The orders of the high court had come on a contempt plea which was filed claiming non-compliance of its 2017 judgment directing the state government and BEVCO to ensure that no nuisance is caused to businesses and residents of an area in Thrissur due to a BEVCO outlet there.
The high court on September 2 had said that had it not intervened to reduce queues outside BEVCO liquor outlets, "we would have been sitting on a catastrophic time bomb"....