Outlet at Pappanamcode closed down citing licence violation

The city Corporation is up for a tussle with the Kerala State Beverages Corporation (Bevco) over the legality of running a liquor outlet in a building that has licence only for residential use.

The outlet, located at Pappanamcode along the National Highway-47, was closed down last week by the Corporation, a move that prompted the Bevco to approach the High Court.

It all started with the land acquisition for the expansion of the Karamana-Kaliyikkavila highway. all the shops on the stretch, including the Bevco outlet, was marked for acquisition. The shop was shifted to a nearby building. The Corporation Secretary ordered for this new outlet to be closed, since it had only a residential permit.

“Even the permit for the residential building was found to have anomalies. It has two floors, though in the records it is shown to have only one floor. It is hard to give commercial licence, as it does not have the necessary parking area or the required Floor Area Ratio (FAR),” says a Corporation official.

On March 18, the Bevco moved the High Court asking permission to re-open the outlet. It cited the huge revenue that each outlet generated and asked for considering a fresh application for commercial building. On March 24, a division bench ordered the local body to check whether the application is valid and to take appropriate action within 21 days.

On the ground though, the views about the outlet are conflicting. Both the old and the new outlets had faced opposition for the past few months from residents’ associations and political parties. Banners stuck in front of the shop demanding its closure says such a shop should not be located near “residential areas, educational institutions, and places of worship.”

“We took out marches as the shop was beginning to become a nuisance for the public. Also, there were chances of accidents owing to its location adjacent to the highway,” says Mukesh, a Bharatiya Janata Party activist here.

But another set of people in the area have an opposite story to tell. They allege that the outlet, which sold liquor at affordable prices, was closed down to benefit a bar run by a private party, located just opposite the Bevco outlet. Trade unions have also opposed its closure, as the earnings from unloading the liquor cartons was one of the major sources of revenue for them.

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