" With regard to wine, he said the status quo would be maintained."
Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 26 - Barring the bars in 20 five star hotels, all the others that are currently open will have to shut down Sep 12, a Kerala minister said Tuesday.

Excise Minister K. Babu Tuesday told the media here that there are 730 bars in the state, of which the licenses of 418 have not been renewed this fiscal.

Of the remaining 312 bars, 20 are in five star hotels and barring these, all others will have to close down Sep 12.

There was a considered opinion that 15 days notice should be given to these bars and tomorrow (Wednesday) this decision will be ratified by the state cabinet and the notices for closure would be served to the bars on Thursday, said Babu after a high level meeting.

This new direction has come as part of the decision of the state government last Friday which finalised the new liquor policy to achieve prohibition in the next 10 years.

The government Tuesday submitted the new liquor policy to the Kerala High Court, which posted the case for Sep 17.

The new policy also states that only the five-star hotels in the state will serve liquor.

From Oct 2 this year, all Sunday's will be dry days and out of the 383 state-owned retail liquor shops, 10 percent will close down each year.

It has also been decided to take back the stock of liquor from all the bars and we will be careful from today onwards to give fresh supplies to these bars. Once the bars are closed we will return the portion of the license fee and it will come to around Rs.40 crores, said Babu.

With regard to wine, he said the status quo would be maintained.

The decision to discontinue beer and wine parlour licenses will be taken up by the state cabinet, said Babu.


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