Liquor policy not negotiable, says Chandy
news Monday, January 05, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute | December 3, 2014 | 8.10 pm IST Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Wednesday said the new liquor policy, which aims to implement prohibition in the state in a phased manner, is "not negotiable". Lawmakers in the Kerala assembly Wednesday took on one anpther through disciplined speeches which was a contrast as the assembly witnesses uproarious scenes for the last two days. The Left opposition through economist-turned-politician and former finance minister Thomas Issac sought leave for an adjournment motion to discuss the government's failure to present a liquor policy in the court. "The government's liquor policy is flawed as it is not clear and that's why the court is able to pick holes and is allowing bars to remain open," said Issac. The Kerala High Court is hearing a few cases on the new liquor policy after the Kerala Bar Hotel Owners Association approached the court asking permission to operate their bars. The new liquor policy is about achieving prohibition in the state in a phased manner, and says that barring the 21 five-star hotels, all other bars in the state should be closed down from Sep 12. Since then, a series of cases has been heard and last month the court gave the nod for 62 heritage, four- and five-star hotel bars to operate from Wednesday. On Tuesday, the high court also asked for opening of 22 four-star bars for two months. "This government and the bar owners are hand in glove and that's why the court is allowing bars to be opened. Moreover, allegations have also come out that Finance Minister K.M. Mani was paid Rs.1 crore by the bar owners," said Isaac. Replying to this, Excise Minister K. Babu said that if Issac's accusations are proved, he will quit as minister. Chandy, who has been silent on this issue in the assembly for the past two days, broke his silence and said that no innocent person will be allowed to be made a scapegoat. "Our liquor policy is not negotiable but we will be making slight corrections with regards to the suggestions with regards to the tourism industry and on the rehabilitation of workers who have lost their jobs. At the moment we will wait to hear the court's final verdict," said Chandy. However, Leader of Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan led a walkout. Meanwhile, Deputy Speaker Sakthan Nadar examined a CD that was handed over by the opposition claiming that it contained all the videos and audios that prove the allegation of the Rs.1 crore bribe that Mani received. "These are just things that has already appeared on TV channels and hence this cannot be tabled," said Nadar.