A division bench of Kerala high court on Tuesday, March 31, okayed the alcohol policy of the Congress government, which ensures the closure of all liquor bar hotels except the five-stars, The Indian Express reports.
Starting tomorrow, April 2, only 24 five-star hotels in Kerala would hold the license to serve Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL). So if you are in Kerala and are feeling not-so-rich, wave your gooodbyes to Old Monk.
However, you can now drown your sorrows in beer. And some wine too.
The HC has allowed the 300-odd bar hotels that were to be closed for the sale of liquor to run as beer parlours.
“Already a major chunk of the 418 bars closed since last April are now operating as beer and wine parlours after the government incorporated changes in the policy in last December,” the Express reports.
The verdict by SC marks the end of a long debate over liquor policy within the Congress government. Congress state president VM Sudheeran and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy disagreed over the issue of renewal of liquor license of 418 bars that were branded sub-standard in the state in 2007.
Sudheeran opposed the renewal of their license, but Chandy argued that hotels that have improved their facilities should be granted license. Chandy finally announced total prohibition in the state.
What’s curious about the policy is not the ‘ban’ on alcohol per se. The clear demarcation of five-star vs nots seems to be a bigger problem.