THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The draft liquor policy for 2018-19 okayed by the Cabinet on Wednesday has as its major highlights the sale of Foreign Made Foreign Liquor (FMFL) in the state and the phasing out of plastic liquor bottles. Among other things, the government has decided not to increase the number of liquor outlets. Bars in tourist spots will be allowed to remain open till 12 midnight. At present, the closing time is 11 pm.
The government had announced its decision to allow the Kerala State Beverages Corporation (Bevco) and Consumerfed to sell FMFL (excluding beer) and Foreign Made Wine alongside Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) and wine in the state budget. For enabling this, the government will have to amend the FL-1 and FL-3 licences, sources said. Bevco has already invited bids from suppliers for the supply of FMFL and foreign made wine. Sources said that FMFL will be sold through the existing outlets of Bevco and Consumerfed. Foreign-made beer is not included in this proposal, though. The decision to phase out plastic bottles follows a general government principle to follow eco-friendly methods under the Haritha Keralam programme.
Plastic bottles will be replaced with glass bottles. At present, only high-end liquor comes in glass bottles. The LDF Government, which advocates abstinence rather than outright ban, has also decided not to increase the number of Bevco and Consumerfed liquor shops.
Ministers, MLAs in for pay rise
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala MLAs and ministers are all set to draw higher salaries. The Cabinet on Wednesday gave its nod for the Bill to amend the salaries and allowances of ministers, MLAs and former legislators. Sources said salaries of ministers will be hiked to Rs 90,000 from Rs 50,000 while that of legislators will be increased to Rs 62,000. The Bill will be introduced before the end of the current session of the Assembly. The Cabinet cleared a proposal from the Parliamentary Affairs Department in this regard. The government had earlier assigned Justice James Commission to come up with proposals to hike the salaries and allowances of legislators.
Based on the recommendations of the commission, the Salary Bill was finalised. However, the recommendations of the commission has not been accepted as such. There are reports the commission had proposed to increase the salary of ministers to Rs 1.37 lakh. However, the government fixed it as Rs 90,000. In the case of legislators, the recommendation was to increase the salary along with allowances to Rs 92,000. “The salaries of MLAs should have been hiked to at least Rs 90,000,” said a legislator from the ruling front. “Now, including travel allowance, the legislators are drawing only around Rs 39,000. The total allowances differ for MLAs from south Kerala and north Kerala as the TA is different for both.”
Anniversary of LDF Government to be celebrated
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The second anniversary of the LDF Government will be celebrated with month-long programmes, the Cabinet meeting decided on Wednesday. The celebrations in the district and Assembly constituency levels will be conducted from May 1 to 31. The inauguration of the work of new projects and dedication of completed projects will be held as part of the celebrations. The inauguration of the anniversary will be held in Kannur and the valedictory function in Thiruvananthapuram. The Cabinet approved the draft guidelines for the National Food Security Act. Formation of the State Food Commission and a redressal system for complaints of people left out from the beneficiary list will come into force as part of this. A fire and rescue station will be opened at Nattika. Seven posts will be created for this. Fourteen posts were created for forming the 15th Finance Commission cell.