Now allies concern over Kerala govt s new liquor policy

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Thiruvananthapuram, April 1

 After the Congress-led UDF slammed the Kerala government's new liquor policy which came into effect on Friday, the second biggest ally of the ruling Left — the CPI and the Kerala Congress (M) also have expressed their concerns.

The new liquor policy, cleared by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan during the weekly cabinet meeting, will lead to the opening of new retail liquor vends, bars and also gives nod to the special places earmarked inside IT parks.

While the Congress-led UDF and also the BJP have said the new liquor policy was meant to 'make money through sanctioning of new licenses', the CPI was peeved as toddy appeared to have been sidelined for liquor and beer.

The CPI has one of the biggest trade unions (AITUC) in the toddy industry which includes toddy tappers and those who work in the shops. Its top leader K.P.Rajendran, a former State Revenue Minister said that they were feeling concerned because the toddy industry appeared to have got a raw deal.

Jose K.Mani, chairman of the Kerala Congress (M) on Friday said there were some grey areas in the liquor policy.

"Corrections have to be made in some areas as there are certain grey areas. And wherever a correction is needed, it has to be done," said Jose.

Jose and his party has a strong presence in a few Central Kerala districts where the Catholic church went hammer and tongs against the new liquor policy.

CPI-M state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said the CPI has not raised any concern and maybe it's one or a few of their leaders. "The CPI-M and CPI generally take decisions jointly. The statements that have come out are nothing but the personal opinions. With regards to the toddy industry, he said there are some issues with regards to toddy shops as the government based their decisions on a few High Court rulings. So some more time is required," said Balakrishnan.


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