Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 15 IANS | 4 months ago

The issue of over 400 liquor bars being closed in Kerala has led to Congress state president V.M. Sudheeran hitting out at the Oommen Chandy government and demanding that these bars continue to remain closed.

"If one doesn't take into account the aspirations and wishes of the people, what happened to the UPA government will happen here also," said Sudheeran while speaking at a meeting at the state party headquarters here Friday.

There are 731 bars and since the beginning of this fiscal, 418 of them have not been given permission to reopen after a CAG report indicated that these bars have very poor infrastructure.

Ever since Sudheeran took over as the president of the party in February, he has been giving sleepless nights to the Chandy government over the liquor policy.

He has made it clear that not only should these 418 bars be kept closed, a quality check should be carried out in the remaining bars that are open. If they do not maintain proper standards, they too should be closed down and in the long run prohibition should be imposed.

The Kerala high court Wednesday directed the state government to come out with its liquor policy and also asked for a report after an inspection of the 418 closed bars and decide on their eligibility for renewal of license Aug 26.

P.P.Thankachen, convenor of the Congress-led UDF, said that he would not comment on what Sudheeran has said, but would see that a meeting of the UDF is called at the earliest to discuss the issue.

Sudheeran Friday got support from the second biggest ally of the UDF when Indian Union Muslim League general secretary K.P.A. Majeed said he fails to understand why so much noise is being made over the closed bars.

"Nothing is going to happen, if these bars that are closed, remain closed for ever. I don't think anyone is interested in these things," said Majeed.

But Vellapally Natesan, general secretary of the powerful SNDP, the social movement of the Hindu Ezhava community, said: "It's strange to hear such things. What he said is his opinion and not of the people of the state."

K. Muraleedharan, former state party president and son of K.Karunakaran, said the government can do only what the courts say.

(Posted on 15-08-2014)

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