Kannur: Even as Kerala society is bearing the brunt of widespread alcoholism, as many as 32 new bar licences have been granted by the government over the past nine months. The Left Democratic Front (LDF) government gave the nod to 31 of the applications submitted this year alone, while one application was from last year. Most of the new bars are in Ernakulam and Thrissur districts.
If the figures of beer and wine parlours that have been upgraded as bars are taken into account, then the total number of bars that started functioning this year would rise to 70.
Eight beer and wine parlour were also given permission to start functioning this year, according to a reply given by the excise department for a Right to Information (RTI) query.
However, no applications were submitted for setting up new brewery after the last year’s scandal over the licensing of one.
As per the latest liquor policy, hotels with three-star status or above can be granted permission to start bars. But the current government had announced that it would reduce the availability of alcohol in a phased manner.
The government had earlier made it clear that new bar licences would be granted to those hotels where bars were closed down and also for those bars which were relegated with beer licences by the previous United Democratic Front government. Even after several such outlets benefitted from the revised policy of the new dispensation, the nod for 32 news bars have been given in the current financial year so far.