KOCHI: The UDF meeting held here on Saturday has decided to back Finance Minister K M Mani against the recent allegations raised by Biju Ramesh, the working president of the Kerala Bar Hotels Association. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, UDF convenor P P Thankachan said the policy of the UDF government is abstention from liquor rather than imposed ban.
He said the recent reports about the government not giving appeal to the High Court is to help the bar owners is not true. “The government advocate has already handed over written assurance to the court that the appeal would be filed on November 25,” he said. The UDF policy is, however, to reduce the availability of the liquor over stages, and it has directed the government not to back out from it,” he said.
In the meeting, members decided to support K M Mani against the allegations raised on him. “The allegations are baseless and untrue. The bars were closed as the government decided to save the state from the ill effects of the liquor. But the bar owners took vengence and acted against it. The UDF see the allegations as a cooked up story. Mani has been in the politics for the last 50 years and is a proven leader,” said Thankachan.
Similarly, decisions have been taken to support the government in stopping Beverage outlets on the National Highway in stages. As far as clubs, beer parlours and new five-star hotels are concerned, the decision would be taken after the court verdicts on other cases filed on bar hotels, he said.
An all-party meeting has been planned on November 25 at Thiruvananthapuram in which delegates would be selected to visit Prime Minister and other ministers in New Delhi to raise various concerns of the state.
“The delegation would request the Central government for a complete ban on rubber import. It would ask for the farmers’ relief through the release of Price Stablisation Fund, which is around `1,000 crore and remaining unutilised. “The other issues placed before the government will include Mullaperiyar as well as a revival package for five public sector industries-FACT, Cochin Shipyard, HNL, HOC and HMT. Release of the fund given to Civil Supplies for helping farmers to procure paddy will also be placed before the government, he said.
The meeting also discussed about the future decisions over the division of 53 panchayats in the state as well as recommending to the government a reconsideration on the fair value on land taken for various projects. It has also asked to review current hike in the building taxes imposed by local bodies.On the recent issue of raids at the residence of T O Sooraj, Thankachan said that Muslim League has not raised any concern over it.
“The meeting, howver, did not raise any allegation against any leader. UDF has a tradition of taking strict action on corruption cases, and it has decided to go forward with the policy of not sparing even top politicians or government officials,” said Thankachan.