The Congress-led United Democratic Front in Kerala, which met on Thursday to discuss the liquor policy of the government, decided to bring in prohibition in a phased manner.
Although the issue at stake was renewal of license of 418 liquor bars in Kerala, the unexpected demand for prohibition from within Congress, its allies and mounting pressure from social and religious outfits, forced the government to declare prohibition in a phased manner.
After the meeting, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the media that there was no issue of reopening the 418 liquor bars. Besides, the state would have bars only in the five-star category from next fiscal onwards. The state has also decided to reduce the outlets of the government-owned Bevco, the sole retail distributor of Indian made foreign liquor in Kerala, by 10 per cent every year.