Continuing its grumble against the Supreme Court verdict that banned liquor shops near highways, Kerala government on Sunday downed shutters of 1973 liquor outlets, including 11 five star bars.


In the past two days, as many as 11 five star bars, 19 bars functioning in night clubs, 591 beer and wine parlours, 1145 toddy shops, 207 outlets of state-run Beverages Corporation (Bevco) outlets that comes within 500 metres of highways in the state were closed down. With only 11 five star bars, 16 clubs, 224 beer parlours and 99 Bevco outlets left open in the state, the liquor shops are witnessing unprecedented queues from the morning.

 

An estimate of the State Finance Department estimated the revenue loss from the closure of liquor shops at Rs.4000 crores. The state was expecting Rs.8000 crores from liquor sales this financial year.

With a predicted dip in the tourism revenue, the state would suffer further from the ban on liquor shops near highways. 

 

State Tourism Minister Kadakampalli Surendran feared that the decision to close liquor outlets in large numbers would impact tourism sector as well. The government will have to find alternate means to overcome the crisis, he said.

 

With a predicted dip in the tourism revenue, the state would suffer further from the ban on liquor shops near highways, State Finance Department felt. It is estimated that nearly 20,000 people would be left jobless by the SC verdict. The state will have to find ways to rehabilitate these employees.  

 

Meanwhile, local people's agitations are making it difficult for the relocation of Bevco outlets away from highways. The local self government bodies are also against opening the outlets under their jurisdiction. In order to overcome this hurdle, the government is now planning to revoke the rights of the local bodies to give permit to liquor outlets. The plan is to convene an all-party meeting to decide on this politically sensitive move. The government would also seek legal opinion on the possibility of getting more time to implement the SC order.