Thiruvananthapuram: Cabinet on Wednesday decided to announce its new liquor policy after the Malappuram by-poll, scheduled for April 12.
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan informed Cabinet that the new policy would be declared after by-poll. Officials said that it was not mandatory for the government to announce the liquor policy in the new abkari year, starting April 1. The cabinet, meanwhile, approved Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi's legal opinion that the wine and beer parlours on highways need not be closed down.
He had earlier given the opinion that the recent Supreme Court directive prohibiting liquor outlets within 500 metres on either sides of highways from April, would not apply to bars, beer and wine parlours and toddy shops.
The sudden illness of Excise Minister T.P. Ramakrishnan had also prompted the government to defer the announcement. Officials pointed out that since the liquor policy was applicable to the entire state it could violate the code of conduct.
The argument that excise policy could influence voters could not be brushed aside entirely, they added.
The ruling CPM had recently reached an understanding to make wide-ranging changes in UDF’s liquor policy by allowing the reopening of bars in tourist destinations besides scrapping the decision to shut down 10 per cent liquor outlets annually.