Kerala hikes liquor prices by 10-35% to tide over coronavirus challenges

Kerala hikes liquor prices by 10-35% to tide over coronavirus challenges

Before opening up bars and state-run liquor outlets in the state, the LDF government in Kerala hiked liquor prices up to 35% on Wednesday. A cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan approved the price hike on all liquor brands and beer and has also introduced a Covid cess on liquor.

Liquor loving Kerala will now have to pay more to enjoy alcohol in the state. The price of beer and popular brands of Indian Made Foreign Liquors (IMFL) will be hiked by 10-35%. The price of premium brands of all IMFL products will be increased by 35% from its current price. The cabinet has also decided to issue an ordinance for hiking the price of liquor sold in the state.

“The state is in acute financial crisis after the lockdown and lost around Rs 2,100 crore as excise duty on liquor after bars and BEVCO outlets closed down in the past 50 days of lockdown,” a senior excise official told Indiatoday.in.

But the state government has not yet decided about the opening of bars, wine parlours and state-run BEVCO outlets in Kerala. Chief Minister Vijayan delayed the decision on opening liquor outlets to check further spread of coronavirus infection as large crowds can assemble in front of liquor outlets without following social distancing norms. The police also advised the Kerala government to introduce online booking for liquor purchase.

The state government has now decided to introduce a virtual queue system for the state-run 365 BEVCO outlets and 35 ConsumerFed shops for sale of liquor. Bars will also be allowed to open along with BEVCO outlets and will be allowed to sell liquor as parcels.