Facing flak from all quarters over its plan to start online liquor sales during the Onam festival, the CPI(M)-led LDF government in Kerala has decided to drop the move.
Putting to rest the row over the proposed move to introduce online foreign liquor trade, government made it clear that no such decision has been taken.
Tourism and Cooperation Minister A C Moideen said that neither the state-owned Co-operative Consumers Federation (Consumerfed) nor the government has taken any decision to start online liquor trade.
It was reported that the decision was taken by Consumerfed, the apex body of consumer cooperatives in the state, in this regard were "baseless", Moideen said in a release last night.
Attacking the government over the issue, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said UDF would not in any way accept this and alleged that the government plan was part of its agreement entered with the liquor lobby in the state. The LDF government initiative in this sector was in favour of encouraging liquor consumption in Kerala, he said.
Criticising the new proposal, BJP state President Kummanam Rajasekharan had said the initiative would hurt the state's 'pride and glory' during Onam festival.
Consumerfed chairman M Mehboob had stated on 19 August that the plan was to launch online liquor sales during Onam, but that it would be implemented only after discussions with the state government. Consumers registering for the products online could order their favourite brand and collect it from outlets by presenting the bill, he had said and added it was only a suggestion to avoid long queues outside liquor outlets.
Excise Minister T P Ramakrishnan had said the proposal was yet to come up before the government and that a decision would be taken when it comes before it. Consumerfed had later stated that it would not deliver liquor via courier or post at the doorsteps of consumers.--PTI