KOCHI: Excise Minister T.P. Ramakrishnan on Saturday said that he was not in a position to say for sure when the new excise policy will come in place. But he said that once the draft is ready, it will be presented before the society and the policy will be declared only after knowing the views of the people.
Addressing a meet-the-press programme organised by Ernakulam Press Club, he also said the accused getting bail in cases involving seizure of 1 kg of ganja should change. He said that the Central Government will be requested for an amendment in the law for this.
The Minister said that to prevent liquor smuggling from other states, scanners will be deployed in five checkposts. He also said that since the closure of the bars, the consumption of beer and wine had gone up.
The Minister said currently the government's focus was on implementing the current excise law in full force. Stern measures have been taken against illegal activities and outlets in the past two weeks. He also pointed out that cities like Kochi were under the threat of drugs though they have been banned. He also added that the new policy will harp on freeing the people from the grip of liquor and drugs.
KPCC HITS OUT
KPCC president V. M. Sudheeran and Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala have come out against the LDF government's proposed liquor policy. While Mr Chennithala alleged that the government was trying to immerse Kerala in alcohol, Mr Sudheeran said it was the organised force of the liquor lobby who were behind the new liquor policy. Mr Chennithala asked how abstinence can be promoted if bars are thrown open.
Mr Sudheeran alleged at a press meet at KPCC office that the LDF government was returning the monetary favours from the liquor lobby during the assembly elections by re-opening bars. "Bars should not be allowed to open hastily. The government should take a decision only after detailed thinking," he said. Congress sources reveal that if LDF reworked the liquor policy, then UDF would deal it politically as well as legally.