Thiruvananthapuram: With liquor policy in focus ahead of 16 May Kerala assembly polls, Congress-led UDF on Wednesday suggested further tightening of the measure if it returns to power, saying it would not sanction foreign liquor bar licence to five star hotels converted from three or four star category.
Releasing the election manifesto of the Front at a press meet, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said some were misusing the policy by converting the three and four star hotels to five star and the UDF, if voted to power, would not give licence to such hotels.
Chandy said the manifesto made it clear that total prohibition in 10 years time was the objective of the UDF.
"Even if the Centre gives five star status, state government would bring some more conditions for sanctioning licence to operate bars," Chandy said in a bid to counter the criticism of opposition parties against the government for sanctioning fresh bar licence to eight five star hotels in the last 20 months.
Licence to five star hotels were given as per the present policy, but it was seen that some were misusing the policy by converting the three and four stars to five star, he said.
The UDF's liquor policy, that came into force in 2014, allowed sale of foreign liquor in five star hotels only and closed down more than 700 bars in the state.
The policy envisaged total prohibition in 10 years time by reducing availability of liquor.
But with fresh licence granted, CPI-M led LDF and BJP questioned the sincerity of the UDF's policy and its claim that it stood for total prohibition.
LDF had alleged that UDF's "propaganda" that it stood for total prohibition was a lie as more bars were given licence to serve foreign liquor.