English media about kerala liquor ban bar closure

BBC INDIA -bbc.com

India's Kerala state plans to ban alcohol sales




Actor Mohanlal advertises for a brand of whisky in Kerala The government plans to enforce total prohibition in 10 years


Authorities in the southern Indian state of Kerala have outlined plans to ban the sale and consumption of alcohol to tackle the state's drink problem.


The first phase of the ban would see more than 700 bars and as well as some shops selling alcohol shut down, with more alcohol-free days introduced.


The government aims to enforce total prohibition in 10 years.


Kerala has India's highest per capita alcohol consumption at more than eight litres per person yearly.


Doctors and activists have highlighted rising alcohol abuse, blaming it for many road accidents and even marital breakdown. They say hospitals and rehabilitation centres are packed with patients suffering from alcohol-related diseases.


Chief Minister Oomnen Chandy said the Congress-led government planned to make Kerala "liquor free" with a series of proposed measures in the coming months:


  • A total of 730 bars serving alcohol will be shut.
  • Sundays will be added to existing alcohol-free days on the first day of every month
  • Only luxury hotels will be allowed to serve alcohol from next year.
  • 10% of the 338 liquor shops owned by a state-run monopoly will be shut every year.


"The state should be prepared to accept total prohibition within this period [of 10 years]," he said.


Correspondents say businesses are worried that the proposed ban may hit tourism in the state. Kerala is the state which attracts the highest number of tourists in India.


Nor is it clear how the government plans to recover lost earnings from alcohol sales, which by one estimate accounts for more than 20% of revenues in the state's annual budget.


Kerala to close down 700 bars, Sundays to be dry


DNA - dnaindia.com

The ruling Congress-led UDF in Kerala has decided to shut down over 700 liquor bars attached to hotels below the five-star categories besides make Sundays "dry days." The decision, taken in a meeting of the UDF leadership presided by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, also marked the resolution of the long-drawn feud in the state unit of the Congress and the coalition over the question of renewing licences of 418 bars which were found to be lacking in quality.


The decisions will be formally recommended to the Chandy Cabinet to act upon. The UDF leadership had earlier resolved to take firm measures to bring down availability of liquor to the common man and take the state to its goal of "total prohibition" in a phased manner. Briefing reporters after the meeting, Chandy said the 418 bars which had been lying closed since April this year would not be re-opened.


Also, another 312 bars will be closed down, subject to legal advice. In case there were some legal hitches in shutting them immediately, they would not be allowed to run business from the next financial year. The decision would mean that only five-star hotels will have bars, Chandy said. Regarding the retail sales through the outlets of state Beverages Corporation, the number of such outlets would be wound up by 10 per cent every year.


Apart from the existing dry days, which include the first day of every month, all Sundays would be dry days in the state, taking the total liquor holidays to a minimum of 52 a year, it was decided in the meeting. The question of renewing licences of closed bars had created sharp divisions in the Congress in the state. Ever since he took over the state unit, KPCC President V M Sudheeran had stood firmly against renewing licences to 418 bars temporarily closed on the basis of CAG reference on lack of proper amenities.


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