Activist to challenge Kerala Chief Minister's decision to allow sale of liquor

Updated: 31 March, 2020 08:30 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon | Mumbai

Expressing concern over the suicides of five alcohol addicts in the state, Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan announced last week that liquor would be sold against a doctor's prescription

Pinarayi Vijayan
Pinarayi Vijayan

With all the outlets selling liquor in Kerala shutting down in view of the 21-day national lockdown, the state has been incurring a daily loss of '30 crore, which is expected to reach '630 crore by April 15. Expressing concern over the suicides of five alcohol addicts in the state, Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan announced last week that liquor would be sold against a doctor's prescription. However, this has not gone down well with activists, one of whom has decided to move a PIL in the matter soon after the lockdown ends.

When asked about the daily losses, Minister for Labour and Excise (Kerala), T P Ramakrishnan said, "I don't have off hand figures, but we are observing the lockdown, which will continue till April 15." On being questioned about the implementation of the CM's directive, an official from his office said, "We are still working out all the possible modalities and even the CM will require some time to chalk out a plan."

Sparjan Kumar, managing director, Kerala State Beverages (M&M) Corporation Limited, said, "We have not got any directives from the state government yet. The state excise department is working out the modalities and we are only the implementing agencies."

When asked whether such a proposal was going to be implemented for the first time, Kumar replied, "A similar proposal was submitted a couple of years ago, but the Indian Medical Association opposed it and the plan was dropped."

Activist to file PIL
M K Haridas, RTI activist and president of Proper Channel, an NGO based in Kochi, came down heavily on the state government and said, "The decision of the CM is in bad taste and it will be challenged through a PIL, which will be filed before the Kerala High Court once the lockdown is over."

"This lockdown period could have been utilised by the state government for conducting various alcohol de-addiction programmes in the state, but instead the CM is allowing sale of liquor against a doctor's prescription. This exposes the true intent of the present government," he added.

"Five alcohol addicts committed suicide and the government came under so much pressure that the CM had to come out with such an illogical solution," he concluded.

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First Published: 31 March, 2020 07:58 IST

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