The Kerala government has declared its much-awaited liberalised liquor policy that permits opening of bars in three star and four star hotels.
This effectively replaces the aggressive policy of the previous regime aiming at phased prohibition adopted more because of 'internal political pressures than practical considerations
Announcing the new policy, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that liquor would be available at all domestic lounges of airports. Bars would be allowed to sell 'quality toddy' as well.
The government has also decided to reduce the working hours at bars by half-an-hour to 12 hours. The legal age for buying and consuming liquor has been raised from 21 years to 23 years.
Bars would be now remain from 11 am to 11 pm in towns and cities. In tourism centres, they can do business from 10 am to 11 pm.
Restaurants with bar and beer/bar licences would be allowed to serve liquor in their banquet halls on payment of a special fee.
Another highlight of the policy was proposal for setting up a Toddy Board to promote value addition in toddy and ensure toddy workers' welfare.
The new policy would become effective from July 01,2017 the Chief Minister said.