Kerala government says no to new liquor vends

May 27th, 2011 - 3:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Kochi, May 27 (IANS) The new United Democratic Front government in Kerala has turned down a proposal for sanction of 11 new sales outlets for Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL), state Excise Minister K. Babu said here Friday.

Reaching his home town for the first time after being sworn in as minister in the Oommen Chandy-led government, Babu told newsmen here that this was the first decision he took after assuming charge.

“The first file that came to me was to sanction 11 sales outlets of the Kerala State Beverages Corporation (KSBC), the sole wholesaler of IMFL and beer in the state, but I decided that it need not be given the permission because our policy is not to see that the sales of liquor are increased,” said Babu.

KSBC currently has 337 outlets and another 46 that are managed by the state-run Kerala State Consumer Federation that sells liquor and beer in retail.

Babu’s decision comes at a time when liquor sales in Kerala for the 2010-11 fiscal touched dizzy heights, reaching a high of Rs.6,730.30 crore as compared to Rs.5,539.85 crore in 2009-10. The state government coffers have thus got richer, growing from Rs.4,260 crore to Rs.5,239 crore during this period.

Babu also made it clear that his policy would be to promote toddy, which is one of the ancient traditional industry but currently in bad shape.

“As a result of falling production of toddy (both tapped from coconut and palm trees), this industry is in bad shape with very few employees now left in this industry. My efforts would be to see what can be done here,” said Babu.

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