'Not now, maybe later': Excise Minister on opening liquor outlets in KSRTC depots

BEVCO liquor outlets to come up in KSRTC bus depots, buildings

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala State Beverages Corporation (BEVCO) has no plans to open its liquor stores in buildings owned by Kerala State Road Transportation Corporation (KSRTC), Excise Minister MV Govindan said on Thursday.

"There is no discussion about opening BEVCO liquor outlets in KSRTC depots. It was a pointless campaign by the media," the minister said.

"The Excise department has not held any consultation in this regard except seeking recommendation from KSRTC," he clarified.

However, the minister did not entirely rule out the possibility.

It was on Monday that rumours mushroomed about BEVCO's likely move to open outlets in KSRTC. It was reported that the KSRTC authorities had submitted a proposal to BEVCO officials and inspections were carried out to ascertain existing facilities at several buildings.

The move was likely envisioned in the wake of the Kerala High Court's directive to BEVCO to provide better facilities to people coming to purchase liquor from their outlets.

Biju Prabhakar, the chairman and managing director of KSRTC, it seems, had taken a liking to the now mooted proposal.

He had informed BEVCO and Consumerfed that KSRTC would construct a new building at Enjakkal in Thiruvananthapuram for liquor sales and other purposes.

He also pointed out that there are facilities for setting up outlets in many of the existing buildings owned by the KSRTC.

"KSRCT has been looking for revenue from all sources. We stand to gain a good amount as rent [through this association]," the KSRTC chairman justified.

At many places the BEVCO outlets are functioning in rented private accommodation, each costing the Corporation dearly.

Despite around 200 per cent tax on liquor, Kerala tops the country in its consumption of alcohol. Only the State-run agency BEVCO is authorised for wholesale and retail sales of alcohol, including beer and wine.

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