Bevco revenue up by Rs.282 crore

Minister for Excise, Fisheries and Ports K. Babu announced in the Assembly on Tuesday that a 3 per cent cess would be levied on sale of liquor by State Beverages Corporation (Bevco) to be used for anti-liquor campaign.

Replying to the debate on the demands for grants for Excise, Fisheries and Ports, the Minister said that the Bevco was already collecting 1 per cent cess on liquor which went to the Health Department for free supply of generic medicines.

Besides, the corporation contributed Rs. 1 crore last year for de-addiction centres, fulfilling its corporate social responsibility.

The Minister said that the revenues of the corporation from sale of liquor had gone up by Rs.282 crore during the past three months following the closure of 418 bars. At the same time, the sales turnover in the open bars went up by 84 per cent.

He said that it was the previous government that had allowed private distillers to produce more liquor. The present government had not permitted any increase in production capacity. Mr Babu said that the government was using social media in its campaign against use of intoxicants.

The Minister said that work on the Vizhinjam port project would be started in December. Preparations could continue as there was no stay from the Green Tribunal on environmental clearance. About 20 per cent of the work on Kannur airport was complete and the foundation stone for the terminal building would be laid this month.

The Azheekal and Beypore ports would be readied for container movement through the coastal seas. Berths would be built at Ponnani port for passenger ships. Environmental clearance had been obtained for the proposed oceanarium in Ernakulam and CRZ clearance had been sought.

Insurance coverage

Mr. Babu said that a pilot project would be implemented for providing insurance coverage to fishing vessels. The accidental insurance coverage for fishermen would be converted into life insurance.