At least 77 bars in Kerala reopened on Sunday as a result of a change in the excise policy by the incumbent CPI(M) led Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in the state. The bars will reportedly remain open from 11 am to 11 pm. However, in areas classified as ‘tourism zones’, they will remain open for service from 10 am to 11 pm.
Earlier, the bars were shut down as a result of the excise policy implemented by the previous United Democratic Front (UDF) government. The decision drew flak as many employees in the hospitality industry were left jobless. Many believe that it was one of the major reasons behind the UDF defeat in the recent assembly elections. The CPI(M)-led LDF government had last month unveiled its new liquor policy by deciding to open the closed bar outlets in three star and above category besides permitting serving of toddy in these hotels from July 1.
“We are happy that the bars have opened. We can quench our thirst after a hard day’s work without fearing police”, told a bar visitor to the news agency PTI. In Kollam, elated citizens celebrated the news by bursting crackers.
As part of the government’s liquor policy, the age limit for consumption of liquor has been increased from the 21 to 23. Government took the decision to reopen the outlets considering fall in state revenue and increase in the consumption of narcotics.