Kerala CM Chandy meets Bishop over liquor policy

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Kozhikode (Kerala), Dec 27: Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Saturday said that the meeting with Thamarassery Bishop Remigiose Inchananiyil over the state government's new liquor policy went off well.

The immediate need for Chandy calling on the head of the prohibition committee of the Kerala Catholic Bishop Conference (KCBC) was felt after two ministers went hammer and tongs at the KCBC for its adamant stand against the new liquor policy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKaR1JLzBKM

"I am very happy with the meeting and its outcome. Our new liquor policy is now going to be implemented and there would be no going back. We will reach total prohibition by reducing the availability of liquor," Chandy told reporters here.

On Friday, the KCBC committee has organised a day-long protest, demanding the withdrawal of the liquor policy.

Chandy said: "It was (former defence minister A.K. Antony) who introduced the arrack ban in 1995. After this the state government opened retail liquor outlets. It was done with a purpose because arrack was a dangerous commodity. When we came out with our new policy, we have a sense of direction on how total prohibition can be achieved over a period of time."

The amended liquor policy came out last week. According to it, 418 bars that have not been opened in this fiscal can be converted into wine and beer parlours and it was decided to lift the ban of making all Sundays dry days.

When the policy was unveiled in August, there was a huge public outcry as people felt that it was not practical because more than 700 bars would not be allowed to serve liquor and Sundays will be dry days.

IANS

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