Kerala to cap drinking, raise age bar for buying liquor

July 21st, 2011 - 7:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, July 21 (IANS) With liquor sales in Kerala in 2010-11 fiscal touching dizzy heights, the wary Oommen Chandy government is all set to uncork a new policy that puts curbs on drinking and raises the legal age for buying alcohol.

The highlight of the new policy would be raising the minimum age for buying liquor from 18 to 21 years.

Speaking to IANS, an official who was involved in framing the new policy said that it would be cleared by the cabinet next week.

He said the document includes quite a few path-breaking initiatives. “We have decided to see that from 2014 new bar licenses would be given only to five star hotels. The timing of bars will be reduced - from 9 a.m to 11 p.m,” said the source.

Among other measures, the maximum quantity of liquor a person can stock would be reduced from three litres to 1.5 litres.

In the last fiscal, liquor sales touched an all time high - touching Rs.6,730.30 crore, up from Rs.5,539.85 crore in 2009-10.

The new policy also plans to streamline the distance between two bars as well as that between bars and educational institutions.

Currently the state has 683 bars, of which more than 100 were sanctioned during the previous Left regime under V.S. Achuthanandan.

The current annual license fee that every bar has to shell out is Rs 2.2 million.

“The measures are being taken with the single objective to see that something is done to bring down liquor consumption in the state,” said the official who did not wish to be identified.

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