Kozhikode/Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 19: Tipplers in Kerala would relish this news no end. If state-owned Cooperative Consumers Federation (Consumerfed), the apex body of consumer cooperatives in the state, has its way, those who love their drink can hope to order their favourite liquor brand online this 'Onam'.
"Consumerfed is planning to launch online liquor sales during Onam. A final decision is expected in three days time," Federation chairman M Mehboob, told reporters in Kozhikode.
He said it would be implemented only after discussions and getting clearance from the state government. This was only a suggestion to avoid long queues seen outside liquor outlets, he told PTI later. As per the plan, initially about 59 brands will be sold to consumers who register for the product online. Consumers can order their favourite brand online and collect it from the outlets by presenting the bill, he said.
Hours after the announcement of 'Online' liquor sales, Excise minister T P Ramakrishnan said the proposal was yet to come up before the government.
"We will take a decision when it comes before us. We have not thought of online liquor sales. Let the proposal come," he told reporters. The minister conceded it would help reduce long queues in front of liquor shops. "Those standing in the queues are also human beings," he said.
The new proposal comes even as there are reports that the LDF government is likely to revisit the previous Congress-led UDF government's excise policy aiming at total prohibition in phases over the next 10 years. It had shut down over 700 liquor bars in the state.
Tourism Minister A C Moideen today said the UDF's liquor policy had adversely affected tourism industry in Kerala.
"There is no question of diluting the liquor policy of the previous UDF government. We are stressing on abstinence, while the previous government was for total prohibition, which is not our policy", the Excise Minister said. Criticising the proposal, BJP state President Kummanam Rajasekharan said the initiative would hurt the state's 'pride and glory' during Onam festival.