Kerala cabinet today ratified the new liquor policy of the Congress led UDF government which envisaged to shut down bars attached to hotels below the five-star category as part of its plans to reduce availability of liquor.
The cabinet, however deferred a decision on issues related to licences to beer and wine parlours and elite clubs that serve liquor.
Several matters, including issues related to beer and wine parlours and clubs serving liquor, has to incorporate in the new policy, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told reporters during cabinet briefing here.
These issues would be taken up at the next cabinet meeting, Chandy said, adding, ruling UDF had taken a strong decision now to close down of about 730 bars.
Meanwhile, as part of new policy, 312 bars attached to hotels below the five-star category would be served notices tomorrow asking them to close their bars by September 12.
Apart from closing down 312 bars, the government had also decided not to renew licences of 418 bars that remained shut since April for want of required facilities.
The radical policy shift to sharply cut down on liquor trade was taken by the UDF leadership meet last week when it met consider the fate of the 418 closed bars.
Meanwhile, Excise Minister K Babu denied reports that Finance Minister K M Mani had recommended reopening the 418 bars.
Media reports that he had informed the cabinet meeting about the Finance Minister's request was also false, he said in a press release
"Mani had not suggested me to reopen 418 bars and I had not told the cabinet about this', Babu said.
His statement comes in the wake of reports that there were 'differences' in the cabinet over the liquor policy of closing down 730 bars.