The CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in Kerala, in what can be assumed as an attempt to dodge a controversy that could do serious damage to the party, has announced that it is cancelling licenses to set up brewery and distillery units in the state.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, in a press conference held in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday said that the permission to set up the units have been cancelled as “there is no point to go ahead with this project amidst all these controversies”.
The Pinarayi Vijayan government has been facing the heat for its decision to issue licences to various companies to set up distillery and brewery units in three districts of the state - Kannur, Palakkad and Ernakulam. Following this, a series of allegations were raised by the Congress-led Opposition party leader Ramesh Chennithala, accusing the government of flouting norms in issuing licences to three breweries.
Talking to the media on Monday, the CM said that the government has not done anything wrong in giving the permission to set up the brewery units.
“This is a government that gives no room for corruption. These are times when the state should stand together. It is during times like this that the Opposition is trying to divide the people of the state,” said Pinarayi Vijayan. He went on to add that it was because of this reason that the government decided to cancel the permission to set up the units.
“At the same time, the government does not wish to take a step backwards when it comes to giving sanctions to set up new units, and as and when necessary, it will sanction new units,” said Pinarayi Vijayan.
The Kerala brewery row began when Ramesh Chennithala, the leader of the Opposition, alleged that corruption worth several crores of rupees in the issuing of licenses to set up brewery and distillery units in the state by the LDF government.
In a press conference last week, Chennithala said, “The LDF government has secretly issued a license to three new breweries and one distillery without any policy decision or Cabinet sanction.”
Reacting to the government's decision to cancel the permission to setup the units, Ramesh Chennithala said that he welcomed the decision and added “They cancelled the license to prevent more details regarding the corruption from coming out.”