Kochi, Apr 9: RSP, a key partner in the ruling Congress-led UDF, questioned the state government's 'silence' over "blue-blooded clubs" enjoying bar facilities in Kerala where it is trying to implement a liquor policy to achieve total prohibition stage by stage.
RSP all India General Secretary T J Chandrachoodan said government was 'silent' over such 60-odd elite clubs enjoying bar facilities and asked Kerala PCC Chief V M Sudheeran, who has led a fight against the liquor mafia, to give a "sufficient consideration" to the issue.
Noting that the recent Kerala High Court verdict has upheld the state government's new liquor policy scrapping all bar licences, except those of the five-star variety, Chandrachoodan said "while doing so either the government or the Court never considered the existing system of allowing bar licenses to blue-blooded clubs in the state".
"I am told that there are around 60 elite clubs in the state where liquor is served without much restriction. This is quiet undemocratic. When common man is denied facility of taking foreign liquor, the moneyed class having memberships in the elite clubs enjoy the freedom."
"My opinion is that having different laws for different sections in same subject should not be allowed. Because every citizen should have same privileges and freedom as any other," Chandrachoodan told PTI in an interview.
According to reports, there are around 40,000 members in such clubs with bar licences across the state. When contacted, an office-bearer of Kochi's elite Rama Varma Club said the liquor license of the club was renewed by the state government.
"I hope that KPCC President V M Sudheeran who has taken special interest in this issue will give sufficient consideration," Chandrachoodan said pointing out loopholes in the liquor policy of the state government. He said control of liquor should be administered stage by stage whereby its total ban can be achieved.
"Otherwise the people will have a feeling that the elite and moneyed class enjoy special rights in this regard. It is not conducive for image of the government," he said.
In its order on March 31, the High Court upheld government's new liquor policy that restricted foreign liquor bars to five-star hotels. The order resulted in the shutdown of 300 bars below the prescribed category operating now.
Hailing the verdict, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had said "the verdict is another step towards the realisation of a liquor-free Kerala in the long run."