Locals' protests prevent Kerala govt to relocate liquor bars
Excise Minister TP Ramakrishnan said the government would move the apex court, seeking extension of the deadline to relocate liquor shops from highways to another two years
The Kerala State Beverages Corporation Limited (Bevco) has been able to relocate just 23 liquor outlets of the total 183 it has decided to shift from along the national and state highways, in compliance with the Supreme Court directive to close down all liquor outlets along national and state highways, thanks to stiff opposition from the locals.
According to the Supreme Court verdict, delivered on December 15 last year, all liquor outlets along highways have to shut down by March 31.
As per a report in The Indian Express, While Excise Minister TP Ramakrishnan asked people to cooperate with the government, the government doesn’t want to go on a collision course. Local sentiments would be taken into account, Ramakrishnan said.
The minister said the government would move the apex court, seeking extension of the deadline to relocate liquor shops from highways to another two years.
Besides, the state government wants exemption with regard to the outlets functioning in municipal towns and corporations. It also wants clarification on operating beer parlours, toddy shops and five-star hotels with liquor licences along the highways.
A Bevco official, meanwhile, said the bid to relocate the liquor outlets had triggered protests everywhere.
“In many places, the firm had identified buildings in remote areas. But when we start preparations for the shop, local residents begin an agitation. Since politicians and people’s representatives are forced to join the protest, Bevco has little option but to withdraw the decision to relocate the outlet,” he told IE.
In Thiruvananthapuram city, a protest by school students forced Bevco to close down a relocated shop. At Konni in Pathanamthitta, local Congress legislator and bar owner Adoor Prakash led a mass protest against shifting of the outlet to the area.