Open Sesame? Kerala seeks legal opinion to allow liquor sales from bars as parcel


Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Government has sought legal opinion on its plan to allow the sale of liquor from bar counters as parcel.

The government plans to amend the Abkari Act for the purpose.

The move is intended to check crowding at the outlets of the Kerala State Beverages Corporation (Bevco), when the sale of liquor resumes after the lockdown imposed in view of the COVID-19 pandemic is lifted.

The government had considered this plan during the initial days of the lockdown also, but it was deferred.

However, with the Central Government allowing the sale of liquor and the lockdown set to end on May 17, Kerala’s Excise Department has sought the Law Department's views on the matter.

An official notification would be issued as soon as the Law Department’s report is received.

However, bars would be allowed to sell liquor at the same price as Bevco outlets only for a limited number of days.

The quantity of liquor a customer can buy as parcel would be limited to three litres.

Before the lockdown, the working hours of Bevco outlets were from 10 am to 9 pm while bars remained open from 11 am to 11 pm.

These hours are likely to be reduced, especially in the evening, when the liquor sales resume.

Meanwhile, authorities are holding discussions with representatives of bar hotel owners’ association over the matter.

Kerala has 598 bars and 357 beer-wine parlours and the government-controlled Bevco has 265 outlets.

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