THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state government on Thursday reversed UDF’s Liquor policy by permitting three star hotels and above having star classification to have bar licences in the state. The policy will pave the way for reopening of many of the shut three stars and above bars. At the press conference here to announce the new liquor policy which will come into effect from July 1, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said at present only five star hotels in the state which possessed FL3 (a type of liquor licence), had bar facilities. Hotels with Three star and above classification will now be able to have attached bars.
He said restaurants will be given temporary permission under FL 2 to serve liquor in banquet halls on special occasions for a special fee. The beer and wine parlours possessing FL 11 will be allowed to function as per norms. Mr Pinarayi said the Supreme Court directive to shut down all liquor shops within 500 metres of state and national highways had adversely affected the workers employed in these establishments. The government has now decided to allow these shut liquor shops to be relocated in the same taluk complying with apex court directive and other restrictions. The liquor shops which were functioning before 1.4.2017 wil be allowed to be relocated with the condition that they wil l have to be reinstated.
The new liquor policy has not made any change in the quota of liquor an indivdual can buy from liquor shops. The present limit is 3 litres. However, the functioning of bars have been rescheduled. At the moment the bars, beer and wine parlours function for twelve-and-a-half hours daily. It has been now reduced to 12 hours. The timings have also been changed. At present the bars and wine parlours function from 9.30 am to 10 pm. This has been rescheduled to 11 am to 11 pm. Considering the special requirements in tourist centres, the timing has been fixed at 10 am to 11 pm. The lower age limit for buying liquor has been raised from 21 to 23 years. Bar licence fee has been revised from Rs 23 lakh to Rs 28 lakh effecting an increase of Rs 5 lakh. IMFL facility which is now available only in international lounge of airports has now been extended to the domestic lounge as well.