Thiruvananthapuram: Firming up plans to drastically reduce availability of liquor, the Congress-led UDF government in Kerala on Tuesday decided to issue notices to hoteliers below the five-star category to shut their bars by September 12.
The decision, taken by a high-level meeting convened by state excise minister K. Babu, would mean that 312 functioning bars would be closed only after the Onam festival, to be celebrated in the first week of next month.
Briefing the media after the meeting that worked out the action plan on the UDF’s policy decision taken last week, Mr Babu said that notices would be issued to hoteliers on August 28, asking them to wind up liquor sales within 15 days.
As part of the procedures under the Abkari rules, unsold stockpile of IMFL from closed bars would be taken back by the state Beverages Corporation (Bevco), the state agency having monopoly over liquor retailing in the state.
Similarly, the part of the licence fee for the remaining eight months of the current financial year would be returned to the bar owners. The total amount to be shelled out for this would be around `40 crore and the modalities would be discussed and finalised by the cabinet on Wednesday, the minister said.
A thorough revamp of the excise intelligence and enforcement wings is on the cards to prevent possible flow of illicit liquor.