Kerala headed towards being a dry state
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has rejected the liquor licenses of 418 bars in the state. He has also declared that every year, retail liquor outlets will be reduced by 10 per cent.
Speaking at a press conference today, Chandy declared, "The benefits from the liquor ban will be much higher than the revenue loss that the Government will incur."
The revenue loss shall be massive indeed, seeing as Kerala has the highest per capita consumption of alcohol in the country. Experts feel that the state will incur an annual loss of Rs 8000 - 9000 crore.
Although backed by the Muslim League and the Church, the main argument against the ban is the loss of revenue. Another fear is that tourism will suffer due to the ban.
But Chandy disagreed, saying, "I don't agree with the argument that there will be revenue and tourism loss because of the liquor ban in the state."
This is merely the first step to total prohibition in the state, as 418 bars in the state have not had their licenses renewed. Further, the remaining 312 bars in the state will not have their licenses renewed when they expire in March 2015.
Meanwhile, Beverages Corporation (Bevco) outlets, which are the sole suppliers of liquor to the state, with their number currently at 334, across 14 districts, will see their numbers decrease by 10 per cent every year. They will also not be allowed to sell liquor on Sundays and the first day of every month.
Chandy's hand was forced due to the strong pro-prohibition stance of VM Sudheeran, the president of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC).
On Thursday, Chandy had declared that only the bars in five star hotels in the state will be able to renew their liquor licenses.
(Posted on 22-08-2014)