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Kerala observes first liquor ‘Dry Sunday’

Apart from Sundays, the first day of each month will be a dry day and holidays like Gandhi Jayanthi and Sree Narayana Guru Jayanthi are also termed as dry days

Kerala today observed the first ‘Dry Sunday’ as all foreign liquor outlets and bars were shut.

As per the latest Abkari policy of the government, all Sundays will be dry days and the state’s excise department has strictly implemented this starting from October 5. All the 312 bars and retail outlets remained closed today.

The state government had already shut down 39 outlets of the Kerala State Beverages Corporation (Bevco) and Kerala state Co-operative Consumers Federation (Consumerfed) from October 2. According to the latest policy, 10 per cent of the outlets would be closed in each year, commencing from this year.

On the basis of the SC order, around 312 bars are now functioning in Kerala. Close to 418 bars have been closed, months back, in the absence of minimum required standards.

There has been a lot of confusion over the closure of bars on Sunday as the SC had issued an order to maintain status quo till the final judgment of the Kerala high court.

The bar hotel owners argued the order is applicable on dry days also. So they said that they would open their shops.

However, excise minister K Babu was adamant on the closure of bars on Sundays and the department issued an order to close on Sunday.

On Saturday, bar hotel owners decided to close their outlets as part of a consensus over the issue.

The government got a legal opinion that the Supreme court order is applicable only over the functioning of the bars, not on observing dry days in the state. The apex court order is silent on this issue.

The court directed the government not to close bars till the High court judgment. The High court judgment is pending and is expected in this week.

Apart from Sundays, the first day of each month will be a dry day and holidays like Gandhi Jayanthi and Sree Narayana Guru Jayanthi are also termed as dry days.

As Sundays are included in the list of dry days, foreign liquor will not be available in the state for roughly 70 days in a year.

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