Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 7 (IANS) The Catholic Church in Kerala is upset with the new liquor policy of the state’s LDF government, as closed bars are being allowed to reopen despite assurances from CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury to the contrary, a bishop said on Thursday.
Expressing deep anguish, Bishop Mar Remigiose Inchananiyil, Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese of Thamarassery, told the media that the present “Left government has cheated”.
“Yechury had assured that not a single closed bar would be opened and now it (assurance) has fallen flat. What came as a shock was the relaxation made recently in the distance liquor vends need to keep from educational and religious institutions…it has been reduced from 200 metres to 50 metres,” said the bishop.
“It’s now clear that ‘money’ is all supreme and everything comes after it. The liquor policy of the Congress-led UDF (United Democratic Front) was also flawed. We will organise a protest against the new policy,” added the bishop.
Yechury had said during the state assembly election campaign that if the Left came to power, not a single closed down bar would be reopened.
Incidentally, it was the previous Oommen Chandy government that closed down in 2015 around 700 bars, with just 24 bars in five-star hotels kept open for serving liquor.
Chandy’s policy envisaged a liquor policy through which prohibition would set in in Kerala by 2023.
The CPI-M-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) had promised ahead of the 2016 assembly election that the front’s policy would be set around the policy of abstinence and not prohibition.
A year later after the LDF assumed office, the state government laid out the new liquor policy, after which on July 2, 77 new bars opened and towards the end of last month came the news that 250 more bars were allowed to open.