Kerala liquor policy row: Chief Secy terms media reports as "baseless"

"Media reports that the state's liquor policy is going to be changed with an intention to scrap the dry day norm are baseless," the Chief Secretary V Venu said in a statement.
Kerala liquor policy row: Chief Secy terms media reports as "baseless"

Thiruvananthapuram | Kerala Chief Secretary V Venu on Monday dismissed as "baseless" media reports that the state government has decided to tweak the liquor policy and said no such discussions have taken place.

False propaganda is being carried out with regard to the measures to be taken to improve the financial condition of the state, Venu said in a statement here.

"Media reports that the state's liquor policy is going to be changed with an intention to scrap the dry day norm are baseless," the Chief Secretary said.

Noting that the discussions to improve the financial situation of the state had been made only at the bureaucratic level, he said such meetings and directions to the officials to submit reports in this regard have been happening regularly.

Meetings have been "misinterpreted with an ulterior motive," and false information was propagated regarding the liquor policy, the top official claimed.

On March 1, a secretary-level meeting, led by him, deliberated on the steps to be taken to improve the financial situation of the state and the overall administrative efficiency of the government.

Among the various issues discussed was the matter of the observance of "dry day" on the first day of every month.

During the meeting, it was pointed out that the state loses business opportunities such as national and international meetings, incentive trips, conferences, conventions, and exhibitions (MICE- Meetings Incentives Conferences Conventions Exhibitions) due to the dry day norm.

The Tourism Secretary was directed to take stock of the losses incurred by the state due to this and submit a detailed note after necessary discussions, he said.

The Chief Secretary pointed out that revoking dry days on the first day of every month has been a long pending of the stakeholders in the tourism and excise departments.

"But no final decision has been taken so far."

Earlier in the day, the Congress rejected the state tourism director's claim that the recent stakeholders' meeting conducted by the department had nothing to do with the government's liquor policy and alleged that the officials were forced to tell lies to protect the ministers.

The grand old party reiterated its allegation that the decision to amend the liquor policy was taken during a meeting convened by the Tourism Department on May 21.

The bar owners had met at Ernakulam and decided to collect money to get a "favourable liquor policy" after that meeting, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly V D Satheesan claimed.

Satheesan charged the Tourism Director with issuing a press statement soon after the opposition made it clear that both the Tourism and Excise ministers were lying on the matter.

The opposition criticism came following reports that the state government was considering scrapping the 'dry day' norm (which prohibits the sale of alcohol in the state on the first day of every calendar month), sparking a political storm in the state.

While the Congress-led UDF has accused the LDF government of taking bribes from bar owners to favour them, the Left claims it has not yet held any deliberations over its liquor policy.

The issue of the purported withdrawal of the 'dry day' policy snowballed into a controversy after an audio clip said to be of a bar association member allegedly asking other members to pay money for a 'favourable liquor policy' was aired on TV channels.

The UDF came out with allegations that the Left government sought Rs 20 crore from bar owners to make a policy favourable to them and demanded the resignation of Excise Minister Rajesh.

Latest News

No stories found.

Related Stories

No stories found.
logo
Metrovaartha- En
english.metrovaartha.com