The Congress-led opposition on Saturday intensified its protest against the Kerala government for flouting norms in issuing licences to three breweries in Kannur, Palakkad and Ernakulam and a distillery in Thrissur and demanded a thorough probe.
"I raised this issue earlier this week, but neither Excise Minister TP Ramakrishnan nor Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has responded," Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala told the media and added that there would be state-wide protests on October 11.
The Congress leader slammed the Excise Minister for avoiding a response to his corruption charges. Chennithala said nowhere in the Left's liquor policy is there any mention of starting new distilleries and breweries.
He demanded the order which rewrote the 1999 excise order and allowed the sanction for new distilleries and breweries.
After 1999, no brewery or distillery has been sanctioned in the state and documents have now surfaced that during the VS Achuthanandan-led Left government (2006-11), this order was adhered to and no new unit was sanctioned. Neither was any new sanction given by the next Oommen Chandy-led Congress government.
"If this is a policy shift, we wish to know in which Cabinet meeting the new liquor policy of the state was decided. How come that just four units which got the sanction only came to know that the state is issuing fresh licenses," Chennithala said.
"The laws are very clear on how the state government should go about when sanctioning new units in the liquor business. Norms were flouted. We demand a judicial probe," said former Excise Minister K Babu.
Pinarayi has not reacted to the Congressâ€™ allegations. However, Tourism Minister K Surendran said: "These charges are being raised by those who were experts in engaging in corrupt dealings."