No deliberations started yet by state govt on liquor policy: Excise Minister M B Rajesh | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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No deliberations started yet by state govt on liquor policy: Excise Minister M B Rajesh

PTI |
May 24, 2024 12:41 PM IST

No deliberations started yet by state govt on liquor policy: Excise Minister M B Rajesh

Thiruvananthapuram, The Kerala government has not begun any deliberations regarding the state's liquor policy, Excise Minister M B Rajesh said on Friday amidst reports that the 'dry day' norm would be withdrawn by the Left administration.

No deliberations started yet by state govt on liquor policy: Excise Minister M B Rajesh
No deliberations started yet by state govt on liquor policy: Excise Minister M B Rajesh

Rajesh said no discussions or deliberations have been started at the government or Excise department level due to the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

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"There have been no deliberations or discussions yet on the liquor policy. There have been no discussions even at the Excise department level," he contended.

Referring to a voice clipping, aired on TV channels, purportedly of a bar association member allegedly asking other members to pay money for a favourable liquor policy, the Minister said strict action would be taken against such attempts.

"We will not encourage such acts," he added.

With regard to reports of bars coming up in IT parks in the state, Rajesh said this proposal was part of the earlier liquor policy and the same has been approved by the legislative Assembly's subject committee.

On the other hand, the opposition Congress-led UDF alleged that the Left government in the state was trying to collect 20 crore from the over 800 bars in the state by promising them a favourable liquor policy.

Leader of Opposition in the Assembly V D Satheesan alleged that the purported voice clip is proof of the "blatant corruption" by the government and demanded the resignation of Rajesh.

Satheesan said bar owners would not collect money without any demand being made from the government or its officials.

He further alleged that while the number of bars in the state were increased by the LDF when it came to power and the sale of liquor increased, the collection of turnover tax from the bars has gone down.

"This is because of the lack of any inspection of bars by the GST department. I had said in the state Assembly that the government was not properly collecting the turnover tax," he alleged.

Satheesan said the UDF was always opposed to the withdrawal of the 'dry day' norm.

Meanwhile, Federation of Kerala Hotels Association president V Sunil Kumar denied that any money was collected from members to influence the liquor policy.

He told reporters that the person whose purported voice clip was aired on TV channels was already suspended from the association.

"So, I do not know what he has said. He has been suspended. After his suspension, if he says anything, we are not responsible for that," Kumar contended.

This article was generated from an automated news agency feed without modifications to text.

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