Meeting routine, didn’t discuss liquor policy: Tourism director

Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan had alleged that the provisions in the proposed liquor policy, including the ‘dry day’ and extension of bar working hours, were discussed during the meeting.
Image used for representation
Image used for representation

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Refuting allegations that the proposed liquor policy was discussed during a virtual meeting convened by the tourism department on May 21 intruding into the domain of the excise department, the tourism director said on Sunday that the department did not convey any suggestion on the policy to the state government.

In a statement, Tourism Director Sikha Surendran said the meeting attended by various stakeholders of the tourism industry “was not a special meeting of bar owners or related to the government’s liquor policy, as is now being made out to be”.

Image used for representation
Have proof of liquor policy meeting says VD Satheesan

Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan had alleged that the provisions in the proposed liquor policy, including the ‘dry day’ and extension of bar working hours, were discussed during the meeting. He also alleged that after the meeting bar owners began collecting money to pay bribes to get their demands implemented. Satheesan also questioned the tourism department intervening in a matter that was under the ambit of the excise department, pointing fingers at Tourism Minister P A Mohamed Riyas. Responding to the allegation, Sikha said that the May 21 meeting was not convened at the behest of the tourism minister, but a routine meeting held regularly to discuss the demands made by various tourism stakeholders.

“There is no basis for the allegation that the tourism department was encroaching on the functions of other departments,” she said. Representatives from the Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) Society, Event Management Association, Houseboat Association, Federation of Kerala Hotels Association, South Kerala Hotels Federation, Association of Approved and Classified Hotels and the Kerala Tourism Development Association participated in the meeting, Sikha said.

These collectives raised issues related to the obstacles they face in promoting Kerala as a wedding and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) tourism destination. “Organisations in the industry have been raising these issues for a long time. However, neither was any decision taken in the meet nor have any report been sent to the government in this regard,” Sikha added.

YC protest today

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A day after the UDF meeting, the Youth Congress state leadership has decided to hold a protest against Excise Minister M B Rajesh who is embroiled in the bar bribery row. The Youth Congress leadership has alleged that Rajesh is the kingpin behind the second bar bribery scandal. The outfit’s Thiruvananthapuram district committee will be holding a protest march to his office on Monday at 11am.

Related Stories

No stories found.

X
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com