Brewery licence row: Kerala defends move

As the CPM-led Kerala government faces opposition over the sanctioning of three breweries and a distillery in alleged violation of norms, Excise Minister T P Ramakrishnan said licences for the units were yet to be issued and due processes were being followed before the formal clearance. File photo for representation only

As the CPM-led Kerala government faces opposition over the sanctioning of three breweries and a distillery in alleged violation of norms, Excise Minister T P Ramakrishnan said licences for the units were yet to be issued and due processes were being followed before the formal clearance.

The minister told reporters in Kozhikode that the excise commissioner would examine all aspects regarding the proposed units and all standard procedures, including clearances from various departments, would be followed. “The government’s stand on the matter is based on possibilities of revenue for the state and creation of new employment opportunities,” Ramakrishnan said.

The Congress-led Opposition has alleged that the government sanctioned the units without amending its official liquor policy or discussions in the Cabinet. The government has maintained that the distillery and breweries in Kannur, Palakkad and Ernakulam districts were given in-principle clearances following all due procedures.

The Opposition alleges foul-play and contends that no new licences were granted to private companies since an order was issued in 1999, stipulating the restriction.

The government claims that it was an executive order that did not bar governments from considering future proposals.

Excise Commissioner Rishiraj Singh has also defended the decision, stating that only primary clearances were given and licences would be issued only if the manufacturers fulfilled various prescribed criteria.

On Monday, Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala stepped up the charge by alleging that a top CPM leader’s son, employed in a state-run industrial park, was involved in allocating 10 acres of land for a brewery in the park.

Ramakrishnan’s defence comes a day after CPM veteran and former chief minister V S Achuthanandan opposed clearance for the brewery in Elappully village, in his constituency of Malampuzha in Palakkad district.

Achuthanandan said setting up a brewery in the village would severely hit the region which is already reeling under shortage of drinking water.

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Brewery licence row: Kerala defends move

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