Special Correspondent

Government to take steps against illicit distilling and spirit smuggling Steps against illicit distilling, spirit smuggling

  • Protection for traditional toddy tappers
  • Priority to traditional industry

    THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Cabinet on Wednesday approved the `abkari' policy for next financial year.

    Announcing the policy after a Cabinet meeting, Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan said toddy shops closed during the United Democratic Front's rule "as a vindictive measure against toddy workers" would be reopened.

    Shops contracted on group basis this year would be allowed to be run on the same basis next year and others on individual basis. Preference would be given to those running the shops now.

    "There would be no changes in the policy regarding Indian Made Foreign Liquor."

    The Chief Minister said the Government would take strong steps against illicit distilling and smuggling of spirit into the State. It would accord protection to traditional toddy tappers and priority to the traditional industry.

    Mr. Achuthanandan said the Cabinet had, in principle, approved the Kochi Metro Rail Project.

    A special cell would be set up to draw up the details and retired Additional General Manager of Southern Railway Gopinathan Nair would be appointed as special officer.

    A special lottery would be conducted to raise funds for the Chief Minister's Relief Fund. The price of the ticket would be Rs.25 and the first prize would be Rs.50 lakh.

    The Chief Minister said the Central Government would be urged to file review petition on the Supreme Court verdict banning fireworks and ensemble in connection with religious festivals.

    Action would be taken to allow ensemble for 15 days as per the permission granted by the court to the State Government. He said the Aralam Farm would be registered as a company with an initial paid up capital of Rs.25 crore.

    Of the 7,000 acres of land belonging to the farm, 3,500 acres would be brought under the company and the balance distributed to tribal people.

    He said that prices of essential commodities could be brought down by 24 per cent following intervention by the Government. The cooperatives sector was operating 3,127 outlets and the State Civil Supplies Corporation and Consumerfed were together operating about 2,500 stores. Horticorp was running 314 vegetable stalls.

    The Cabinet, he said, will take a decision on taking Asian Development Bank loan for the Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project at its next meeting.