Dispute over renewal of bar licences in Kerala unresolved

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Dispute over renewal of bar licences in Kerala unresolved
Thiruvananthapuram, Apr 30: Dispute in Kerala Congress over renewal of licences of over 400 bars remained unresolved as a meeting between Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, KPCC Chief V M Sudheeran and Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala today failed to reach an amicable decision.

After the meeting, Sudheeran said no final decision on the issue had been reached, but that the matter would be resolved without much delay. "We are approaching the issue without any prejudice. In any matter, it will take some time to arrive at a good decision," he told reporters.

As many as 418 bars across Kerala have remained closed for about a month

   

Chandy had earlier in the day admitted that there were some legal and practical problems to be addressed properly before arriving at a final decision on the issue. After working out a consensus within Congress, the issue would be discussed with UDF partners before the government formulates the policy on the vexed issue.

As many as 418 bars across Kerala have remained closed for about a month due to non-renewal of licences for lack of mandatory standards. While Chandy stood for giving a fixed time for improving facilities of these bars, Sudheeran was opposed to that option, holding that bars of three stars and above should be allowed to conduct business. Though different options to settle the issue were discussed in the Congress, a common meeting point could not be arrived at so far.

Chennithala had mooted a formula that licences be given to upgraded bars and two-star bars, according to which 60-67 bars can be reopened, which was also opposed by Sudheeran. Chandy and Excise Minister K Babu felt licences have to be issued to 418 bars after giving them time for upgradation.

Meanwhile, Kerala Bar Hotels Association demanded that the government take a decision at the earliest since closure of bars would render hundreds jobless. A protest march was organised her by the association on Tuesday to press their demand. 

PTI

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