THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With just one month left for the LDF Government to unveil its liquor policy, the CPM state leadership is learnt to have given green signal for opening bars in tourist centres. However, a final decision will be taken after discussions with LDF partners within two weeks.
According to sources, the party leadership is in the process of holding discussions to bring out the new liquor policy in April. Revival of toddy shops and addressing the concerns of toddy workers top the agenda. The party is learnt to have decided to allow as many as 35 four-star bars in tourist centres.
Reducing the licence fee for liquor parties and extension of functioning hours are also under consideration. “The LDF has always maintained liquor ban is not a feasible way and abstinence from alcohol should be promoted. Also the setback to tourism sector is a reality. The party has always stood with toddy workers. Hence, revival of toddy sector will be given preference,” said a CPM state committee member. Though an unofficial understanding has been reached a final decision will be taken only after discussing the issue in the LDF.
Left front sources said there are demands for opening bars in tourist centres considering the setback in tourism sector. “The liquor policy is a major decision of the LDF. The CPM alone cannot take a call. No discussions - either bilateral or within the LDF - were held so far. Once the LDF meets after the Assembly session, a final call will be made,” they said.
Concerned over the setback in the tourism sector, the LDF may reverse most of the decisions of the previous UDF Government. Withdrawing the decision to close down 10 per cent of liquor outlets every year is also under consideration.
Cabinet for anti-liquor activities
The new liquor policy will lay stress on anti-liquor campaign. The Cabinet on Wednesday decided to issue general instructions to all departments regarding the smooth and transparent running of Vimukti, the mission aimed at ensuring abstinence from liquor.
As part of the activities, Kudumbasree workers, Asha workers and Anganwadi employees will be entrusted with the task of distributing Vimukti stickers with anti-liquor messages to all households.
The unofficial Cabinet Meet held on Wednesday night at minister J Mercykutty Amma’s house, as part of the monthly dinner meets, is also learnt to have looked into these matters.