Time to say ‘cheers’ at Kerala IT parks? No, not yet

Then there was the matter of amending excise rules, they said.
Representational image (File photo| AP)
Representational image (File photo| AP)

KOCHI: Techies hoping to say ‘cheers’ after a hard day’s work in any of Kerala’s IT parks will have to wait. Though a year has passed, the state government continues to sit on Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s proposal to set up pubs and wine parlours inside the parks. Sources in the excise department said chances of the promise becoming a reality anytime soon are slim. The CM had made the announcement in the assembly in 2021.

In the just-concluded assembly session, Pinarayi said steps were being taken to introduce changes in the Abkari Act to grant licences for the distribution of liquor at specially-designated places in IT parks as per the decision in the 2022-23 year’s liquor policy.

However, excise department sources said the changes were not likely to be introduced in this fiscal’s liquor policy as several provisions needed to be included in it. Then there was the matter of amending excise rules, they said.

In 2021, Pinarayi had said that several IT firms, in their reports to the government, had pointed out the lack of social infrastructure in IT parks and towns they were located as a shortcoming. At the time, he had said a final decision will be taken once the Covid scare is over.

Meanwhile, many techies are unhappy with the lack of progress. “Though the proposal to start pubs will give a boost to the income of IT parks, there has been no further action after the announcement in 2021,” said Eldho Chirackachalil, who works in Infopark, Kochi.

“A majority of the IT workforce in Kerala comprises youths. They need such a social ecosystem including pubs. The IT sector in Kerala lacks many social infrastructure facilities even now. We have no good venue to conduct business meetings,” he said.

An official document said as per the Brewery Rules, 1967, there is no prohibition on granting brewery licenses in the state. It said no decision has been taken in the Abkari Act on the opening of pubs.

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The New Indian Express