Kerala wants more time to move liquor vends away from highways

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government is approaching the Supreme Court to seek more time to implement its ban on serving liquor in hotels and restaurants within a 500 metres of the highways.

Though liquor ban order of the Supreme Court came into effect on Saturday, affecting all 1,956 outlets that include five-star bars, beer and wine parlours, state-owned liquor outlets and toddy shops, the state government is concerned only about its retail liquor outlets numbering around 207.

According to top government sources, PWD Minister G. Sudhakaran, who also holds the Excise portfolio, has directed Advocate General C.P. Sudhakara Prasad to examine the issue and if necessary approach the Supreme Court with a fresh petition seeking three months’ time to implement the ban order.

In Kerala, the state owns all the 850 liquor retail outlets, of which due to the apex court’s ban on serving liquor within 500 metres of all highways, 207 have to be moved out to new locations.

The state government will explain the practical difficulties in moving out these 207 outlets to new locations.

As per the Supreme Court guideline, the retail liquor outlet should be away from educational and religious institutions. Since it is practically difficult to locate these outlets in government buildings, most of these have always been put up in private places.

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