THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Amidst court interventions on successive days now on the licence renewal issue of 418 bars lying closed for nearly five months since April, former KPCC president K Muraleedharan MLA said that since a decision could not be taken so far by the KPCC-Government coordination committee, the matter should be left for the consideration of the UDF liaison committee. “Framing a liquor policy for the state should be left to the UDF,’’ Muraleedharan said, while the talks on this score have reached a dead end.
KPCC president V M Sudheeran was unwilling to come down from his position at the KPCC- Government coordination committee meet held here on Wednesday, and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy reiterated his stand that a government will have to follow all legal and practical aspects of a given issue and cannot think unilaterally.
Sudheeran had also banked on the views expressed by the KPCC general body meet, which had called for maintaining the anti-liquor and drugs’ atmosphere claimed to have set in the state after the closure of bars. He was also highly critical on the stand of the state Advocate-General in addressing the issue properly.
Muraleedharan, who is also a member of the KPCC- Government coordination committee, was consistent like most others in the panel that it is not at all good for the government and the party to drag the bar issue any longer.
‘No Need For Haste’
Meanwhile, Finance Minister K M Mani said that there is no need to show any haste in re-opening of liquor vends which are lying closed in the state.
“The sorrow of housewives will be that much lesser if bars remained closed’’,he quipped.
The High Court has ordered the State Excise Commissioner and Taxes Secretary to jointly verify the facilities in bars in the state and file their report in two weeks’ time as to why the bar licences could not be renewed or otherwise in the case of closed bars and also address the complaints that facilities in many bars which are already functioning are inadequate.
The inspection of facilities in bars in the state, which was a regular annual exercise, was dropped in 2007. The classification of 418 bars as non-standard later on was based on a report of a former Excise Commissioner. Bar owners have challenged it legally, leading to the court directive now, while coming down heavily against the government for its incapability to frame a liquor policy.