Assembly subject committee gives nod to start pubs in state IT parks

The subject committee, which has LDF members in the majority, gave nod to the government proposal with a few recommendations even as the UDF members opposed the move.
Image used for representational purpose.
Image used for representational purpose.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : In a major move that could invite bouquets and brickbats alike, the assembly subject committee has given go-ahead to the government proposal for setting up pubs in IT parks.

The subject committee, which has LDF members in the majority, gave nod to the government proposal with a few recommendations even as the UDF members opposed the move. The proposal is likely to be implemented after June 6 when the election Model Code of Conduct will cease to exist.

As per the proposal, one pub can be allowed to function in each IT park. The responsibility of operating the pub rests with the promoter, that’s the state government, or anyone permitted by the promoter. Only the employees as well as the guests of the IT firms will be served alcohol and the pubs will function from 11 am to 11 pm.

The subject committee has recommended changes in IT and Excise rules before the proposal is implemented. The licence fee for starting the pub has been fixed as Rs 20 lakh and it will be under a new excise licence, FL 4C, that the pubs will be allowed to operate. The pubs can procure liquor from the godowns of Beverages Corporation.

The UDF members in the assembly subject committee opposed the proposal saying that allowing the promoters to choose the operators of pubs would effectively open doors for the bar owners. They also pointed out that the government in a later stage would allow pubs in each IT firm and by allowing the pubs to open from 11 am to 11 pm, the government would be ushering in the decadent aspects of western culture.

UDF MLA Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said those backing the proposal justified it saying that it will lessen the stress of IT employees. “To serve alcohol to lessen stress is a weird and dangerous idea. Serving alcohol in places such as IT parks itself is a deviation from law, and the proposal, if implemented, would have larger consequences,” he said.

It was the first Pinarayi Vijayan-led LDF government that proposed setting up of pubs in IT parks. It was during the second term that the rules were amended to materialise the proposal. It’s the amended rules that now got approval from the assembly subject committee.

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