Finally, Kerala stops liquor sales amidst lockdown

Kerala finally stops liquor sales, tightens vigil against spurious liquor

The state excise department has tightened vigil against the chances of sale of spurious liquor in view of stopping liquor sale

Representative image (DH Photo)

In a shocker to tipplers in Kerala, liquor sales were stopped in the state from Wednesday even as Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was so far rejecting the demand for stopping liquor sale.

The state Excise department has tightened vigil against the chances of sale of spurious liquor in view of stopping liquor sale. Though there were reports that the government was exploring options of online liquor sales, top government officials ruled out the immediate chances owing to technical hazards involved.

Ever since restrictions were imposed on gatherings in the wake of COVID-19, the opposition Congress and many anti-liquor activists were demanding closure of bars and retail liquor outlets.

But the government rejected it and directed the bars and retail outlets to ensure adequate safety measures. The Chief Minister even cited a directive of his Punjab counterpart Amarindar Singh listing beverages as an essential commodity.

But as pressure mounted, the government decided to close the 600 odd bars and 355 beer and wine parlours the other day, and with a nation-wide lockdown being enforced the state government decided to close the 300 odd retail outlets also.

The huge revenue that the government was receiving from liquor sale, which comes to over Rs. 2,500 crore annually, was said to be the key reason why the government was reluctant to stop liquor sale, especially since the state was facing acute financial crunches. Kerala Excise Commissioner S Aananthakrishnan said that the Excise department has enhanced vigil against the chances of sale of spurious liquor as the liquor outlets were shut.

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