April 2017
10:57 AM IST
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State govt mulls spirited move for Supreme Court’s graceful nod
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With the ‘liquor crisis’ turning out to be a major headache, the state government may approach the Supreme Court requesting more time to shut liquor shops along the highways. The government is also mulling to scrap the condition that local bodies should approve the opening of liquor shops in their territory and it may promulgate an ordinance in this regard.

The government is seeking a threemonth grace period for shifting liquor shops. The decision, it is learnt, was taken on the basis of Advocate General’s advice.

Though 206 shops run by Kerala State Beverages Corporation (Bevco) and Kerala State Cooperative Consumers Federation (Consumerfed) along the state and national highways were shut down, finding new locations for them is proving to be tough job.

All these aspects will be discussed in the Cabinet and the government is also exploring the possibility of calling an allparty meet.

Although some states and UTs have decided to denotify the state highways as major district roads to overcome the SC ruling, it is understood that the Kerala Government is not so keen at this juncture.

Bogged down by the serpentine queues outside its liquor outlets, the Kerala State Beverages Corporation (Bevco) has decided to keep its doors open to tipplers for 12 hours a day. The decision, a temporary arrangement until the rush is mitigated, came into effect from Monday. As per the decision, Bevco outlets will function from 9.30 am to 9.30 pm, instead of their earlier 10 am9 pm timing.

Bevco officers said the working hours were prolonged to handle the unprecedented rush at the corporation’s outlets. “Once the rush is mitigated, we will take a relook into the timings,” Bevco managing director H Venkatesh said. Bevco had also sought police assistance to handle the crowds outside its shops, he said.

Following the apex court order, Bevco had to shut down 134 of its outlets along highways. The employees at the shops have been redeployed elsewhere. To ensure faster service and effective crowd management, Bevco opened more counters at its shops that are currently open.

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