Idukki (Kerala), April 16 (IANS) Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who has come under fire from many who are fond of their drink for going forward with a policy of eventual prohibition, on Friday received an impassioned request at an election meeting here – that the local liquor outlet not be shut down.
Addressing a huge election rally near here, Chandy was mentioning his government’s liquor policy but was forced to stop his speech – and failed to control himself from laughter, when an unidentified man in the audience said in his loudest voice: “Sir, please do not close down the liquor outlet located here.”
Hearing this plea, Chandy, along with the other leaders on the stage, broke into laughter, but regaining his composure, responded aptly.
“I know that this (liquor) is much needed and that’s why we decided to go in for a phased prohibition, unlike what happened recently in Bihar, where they introduced prohibition at one go and the outcome was about 700 people were hospitalised after they drank soap water,” he said, triggering hearty laughs from the audience.
Due to the new liquor policy, there are just 29 five star bars and 344 retail shops selling liquor and beer and every year, 10 percent of these outlets would close, leading to prohibition in the state by 2023.