Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan has alleged that there was major corruption behind the renewal of bar licences in the state. The State Government was involved in the corruption related to the renewal of bar licences, Achuthanandan said. In a statement issued here on Sunday, Achuthanandan alleged that the Excise Department’s finding that the bars owned by the relatives of ministers were of good standards was in itself an evidence of the corruption behind the renewal of licences.
‘’Emergency financial aid should be provided to the workers of 418 bars the licences of which were not renewed,’’ the Opposition leader demanded.
It is not the first time that the Left is raising the issue of corruption. Earlier, Opposition deputy leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had also alleged corruption in the issuance of licences to 335 bars. The Congress, however, denied the charges and demanded the LDF to come out with evidence of graft in the issuance of licences and termed it as baseless.
The State Government had put on hold the renewal of licences of 418 bars deemed ‘substandard’, out of the 753 bars.
The entire issue cropped up with the government delaying the revised liquor policy, which, in turn, hit the renewal of bar licences. The renewal is done before March 31 every year. The announcement of the elections in between had forced the government to put the issue on the back burner until the polls are over.
‘All Sub-standard Bars Should be Closed Down’
The government should close down all sub-standard bars in the state, Latin Archbishop of Thiruvananthapuram M Soosai Pakiam has said.
He was addressing an anti-liquor campaign organised by the Thiruvananthapuram Social Service Society (TSSS) here the other day. “The authorities generally treated issues related to liquor casually. Instead, they should focus on steps to reduce the availability of liquor,” he said.
“Some say that liquor would start flowing in from neighbouring states, if a ban is imposed in the state. It was the government’s job to prevent the illegal flow of such liquor. The ban on arrack imposed by the A K Antony government in Kerala was a courageous step,” the Archbishop said.
Speaking on the occasion, KPCC chief V M Sudheeran said,”The Congress’ stand on the issue was that bar licences should be renewed after detailed examination of the bars and by taking the public into confidence” .
“The new liquor policy would focus on the interests of the people and not on monetary concerns,” he said.