Will Kerala do away with dry days? LDF meeting may take a call

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Thiruvananthapuram: In a significant move that could lead to the opening of more toddy shops, the Kerala Government plans to review the minimum distance limit they have to maintain from educational institutions, places of worship and other outlets serving alcohol.

Currently, toddy shops have to maintain a distance of 400 meters from specified public facilities. The final decision on reducing the distance and by how much would be taken during the meeting of the Left Democratic Front, Minister M B Rajesh stated.

Currently, the distance mandated is 50 m for five-star bars, and 200 m for other bars and retail outlets. Extending the validity of toddy shop licences is also under consideration.

Dry days

The LDF is also likely to discuss the demand of alcohol retailers to withdraw the dry day.

For over two decades, Kerala has been keeping shut the liquor outlets owned by the State Beverages Corporation, bars and toddy parlours on the first day of every month on the grounds that it is the salary day. The move was based on a humanitarian concern that people shouldn't have the opportunity to spend their salary on booze the day they are paid.

However, the Excise Department's assessment is that the single-day ban has not been effective. “Those who want to have liquor on the first day of a month buy it a day before. Moreover, liquor sales shoot up on the second of every month.

Gandhi Jayanti (October 2), Martyr's Day (January 30), Sree Narayana Guru Jayanti and Sree Narayana Guru Samadhi (dates vary as per Malayalam calendar) are also listed as dry days in Kerala.

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