THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Ten more liquor shops have been opened in Kerala. The Kerala State Beverages Corporation (BEVCO) and the Consumerfed have jointly inaugurated five new liquor shops each across various locations in the state. This decision marks a significant move after an extended period of time.
Additionally, the government has decided to reinstate liquor shops that were previously shut down as part of the Oommen Chandy government’s liquor prohibition policy.
The green light to open these new shops came in May 2022 when the government granted permission to start 175 recommended by the Beverages Corporation. BEVCO has taken the initiative to reopen outlets in Vattappara (Thiruvananthapuram), Chathannur (Kollam), Bharanikkavu (Alappuzha), Kallai (Kozhikode), and Parappanangadi (Malappuram). Meanwhile, the Consumerfed has relaunched outlets in Kapplippara (Palakkad), Meppadi (Wayanad), Amburi (Thiruvananthapuram), and Balusseri (Kozhikode).
The liquor landscape in Kerala has seen significant changes over the years. When the Pinarayi Vijayan government assumed office in 2016, there were only 29 bars and 306 BEVCO outlets in the state. Since then, the government has renewed bar licenses for 440 bars and issued over 250 fresh licenses during the past six-and-a-half years. Currently, there are over 720 bars and 300 beer parlors operating in Kerala.
The reopening of these shops has sparked a debate among various stakeholders and the public, as the move represents a shift in the state’s liquor policy. Social responsible persons raise concerns about the impact on society and public health. The government’s decision has ignited discussions on the implications of such changes and the need for responsible liquor regulations.