Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan on Thursday March 31 slammed the new liquor policy of the government and said this is meant to make money for the CPI(M).
“The liquor policy that has come out smacks arrogance of Vijayan who has got a second term and is meant to make money by sanctioning more liquor outlets and not to mention of opening of distilleries and breweries,” said Satheesan.
“None should forget what Vijayan wrote in his Facebook in 2016 when the then Oommen Chandy government sanctioned liquor outlets and he assured that once they come to power all things will be taken care. And just see the new liquor policy, it’s a free for all and one to pocket money through giving new licenses,” added Satheesan.
Vijayan on Wednesday cleared the new liquor policy which will come into force from Friday and includes sanctioning of more liquor outlets and for the first time liquor vends will open in IT parks.
Veteran Congress leader and a known prohibitionist V.M. Sudheeran said the argument of the Left was when there was a short supply of liquor, people here were turning to drugs and just see now, through the new policy, liquor will be in abundant supply and so would be the drugs.
But State Excise Minister M.V. Govindan defended the new policy as one which was meant to avoid crowding before liquor outlets.
“In actual terms, the sales of liquor has come down and the only reason why we decided to open more vends is to ensure that there is no crowding in front of vends, which was looking very bad. Moreover, we will be converting all vends into state of the art shops,” said Govindan.
The profile of liquor users in Kerala reveals that around 32.9 lakh people out of the 3.34 crore population in the state consume liquor, which includes 29.8 lakh men and 3.1 lakh women.
Around five lakh people consume liquor on a daily basis. Of this, around 83,851 people including 1,043 women are addicted to alcohol.
Taxes from sales of liquor is one of the highest revenue earner for the state exchequer.