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In tune with its recent decision to impose prohibition in the state, Kerala government on Tuesday asked 312 bars, which are in three and four-star categories, to close their outlets by September 13. Of the 700-odd bars in the state 418 had been closed since April.
State excise minister K Babu said notice would be given to bar hotels on August 28 to wind up liquor sale by September 12, five days after Onam festival, a season known for record sale of liquor.
“After the closure the excise department will take back unsold pile and money will be refunded. Similarly bars will be given back license fee for the remaining period,” he said.
Last week the highest liquor-consuming state (per capita consumption is 8.3 litres — 3% above the national average) announced drastic measures to make Kerala liquor-free in a decade.
Besides closing down all bars, every year 10% of liquor-selling government outlets would be closed down and all Sundays would be made dry. Now only five-star hotels in the state would be allowed to serve liquor.
The state government has also decided to revamp the excise department to check the possible flow of hooch and smuggling of liquor from neighbouring states.