Thiruvananthapuram: Even as pressure mounted on the LDF Government to review the UDF liquor policy, CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has made it clear that the decision on the issue will be taken after wide ranging discussions with all stake holders. He told media persons here that decision had not been taken yet on whether to reopen the bars or keep them shut. The opinion of various departments’ including excise, tourism, finance and health will be taken into consideration while finalising the policy.
The CPM state secretary said the decision on liquor policy would be taken unitedly in the LDF. “LDF has one view on the issue,” he added. Kodiyeri’s clarification comes in the wake of statements made by Excise Minister T P Ramakrishnan and Tourism Minister A C Moideen hinting at a change in liquor policy. The tourism minister is in favour of granting relaxation on sale and availability of liquor in tourism destination.
The minister has suggested that bars located in tourism destinations should be allowed to serve liquor. Such measures are needed urgently to save the tourism sector which had taken a severe hit following the closure of bars. Moideen had submitted a detailed letter to the chief minister recently explaining the concerns of the tourism industry . The representatives of the industry have pointed out that UDF’s excise policy had destroyed the tourism sector.
Hundreds of conferences, conventions and meetings which used to be held in the state were now happening in other tourist destinations like Goa and Rajasthan. Even the neighbouring countries most sought after venues for such events. Meetings Incentive, Conference and Exhibition (MICE) Tourism segment is the worst hit because of the new liquor policy.
According to industry people, organisers and sponsors of these events were heading for Sri Lanka and Thailand where all facilities are being offered to the visitors. The excise policy has also had an adverse impact on tourist arrivals. Last year the tourism department had targeted to attract over 1.37 crore tourists including 12 lakh foreign tourists. However, it could get only 12,46,5571 domestic and 9,77,479 foreign tourists....