- State will seek three months time to move outlets
- Apex Court order will wreck tourism sector in the state: Tourism Minister
- Implementing present order could lead to ₹5000 crore revenue loss for the state
Kerala plans to move Supreme Court seeking grace period for shifting liquor outlets within 500 metres of state and national highways.
State Excise Minister G Sudhakaran said the state would ask for three months to execute the order. "The circumstances here are the difference from other states, and we need more time to implement the directive," the minister said.
The decision to approach the court seeking relaxation was taken at a high-level meeting between Chief Minister and top officials. Tourism Minister has said that the Apex Court order will wreck tourism sector in the state.
In Kerala, where per capita consumption of liquor is highest among Indian states, the order has posed a unique challenge for the government. The state has national highways and state highways across most of its busiest parts. The high density of population also serves as a hindrance to shifting of shops. Residential areas won't allow liquor shops nearby and are thick with protests, which poses an issue for the government.
Revenue from liquor is one of the main sources of income for the government, and the order is also likely to dent government coffers. Implementing present order could lead to ₹5000 crore revenue loss for the state, Finance Minister Thomas Issac said. It will have an impact on state government projects including welfare projects, he said.
The Supreme Court had on March 31, ruled that liquor outlets within 500 metres of state and national highways must be shifted to other places or shut down from April 1. The decision came after a petition seeking measures to curb accidents on highways owing to drunken driving.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:40 PM IST