Kochi: Kerala Government on Tuesday informed the High Court that it was its 'avowed' policy to reduce liquor consumption in the state stage by stage and to achieve the goal of total Prohibition within a 10 year span.
The submission in this regard was made in a counter affidavit filed on the direction of the Supreme Court on a batch of appeals filed by 312 bar owners, challenging the government decision to close down over 300 bar hotels.
Government had also declined to renew licenses of 418 sub standard bars.
The Apex Court had disposed of the cases after directing the High Court to hear the matter by September 30 and directed the state government to file affidavit on Sept 16.
In a nine-page affidavit,Government also stated that the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) in its Election manifesto itself had made it clear that production and distribution of foreign liquor with high alcohol content would be reduced stage by stage and that the Udayabhanu commission report would be implemented in full.
After coming to power, government had declared that no new licences for three star hotels would be permitted from Mar 31, 2012 and that of four star hotels would be permitted only upto March 2013.
The state had also appointed a one-man commission on Mar 23, last year to submit a report with regard to the new Abkari policy to be taken by the government, it said.
No new licences had been granted by the Government except on court intervention.Similarly no new bar licenses were issued to Beverages Corporation or Counsmerfed to open new outlets.
Local self government institutions were permitted to decide on whether they should be given licences for opening Abkari shops within their jurisdiction. The working time of bar hotels was also reduced by government beside raising the age limit to purchase liquor from 18-21 years.
Several initiatives were taken to propagate prohibition and educate people on the harmful effect of consuming alcohol so as to desist from its consumption, it was submitted.