Tuesday November 19, 2019
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Kerala hails Supreme Court nod to its liquor policy

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Thiruvananthapuram:  The Kerala government saluted the Supreme Court’s verdict that not only encouraged the Kerala High Court’s verdict as well as the Oommen Candy government’s liquor policy.

According to the Kerala government’s new liquor policy, only 27 five-star hotels’ bars will be able to serve liquor.

“We are happy that the Supreme Court’s division bench upheld our decision. From now on, we will be going ahead very strongly with our anti-liquor campaign programmes as we want this habit to be removed from our society,” Kerala’s Excise Minister K. Babu told.

In March this year, the Kerala High Court upheld the state’s new liquor policy and dismissed a petition of the Kerala Bar Hotel Owners Association. Following this, the hotel association, led by its president Raj Kumar Unni, approached the apex court against this verdict.

From April 1, only 27 five-star hotels were serving liquor and with Tuesday’s verdict, the status quo would be maintained.

Reacting to the new development, Unni said the government will now decide how and what to do next. “Yes, we will seek legal advice on how to move forward,” said Unni.

Bar owner Elegant Binoy told reporters that the latest verdict is not the end of the world for the bar association.

“What must be noticed is that the liquor policy of the state is an annual exercise and there are just three more months for this policy. From April 1, 2016, there has to be a new policy, so we will wait and see, and before that we also will sit down and discuss what other legal recourse is there before us,” said Binoy.

In August 2014, the Chandy-led Kerala government announced, as part of its new liquor policy, that it was deciding to go in for total prohibition in 10 years and had issued a notice for closure to all the 710 bars, including the 418 ones that had not opened since April 1 that year.

Liquor, however, will be available through 305 retail liquor shops owned by the Kerala government. And, here too, 10 percent of these shops would be closed down every October, the new policy statement announced. By now 78 shops have already downed their shutters.

With assembly polls round the corner, all eyes are on the Left opposition as to what would be its liquor policy, as the apex court on Tuesday pointed out it is the decision of the state government to formulate its own policy.(IANS)(image:blogspot.com)

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Pollution Severe In Delhi In Spite Of Odd-Even Scheme: SC

SC says despite odd-even scheme, pollution in Delhi became severe

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Odd-Even scheme
In spite of Odd-Even vehicle rationing scheme, pollution has reached a severe level. Pixabay

The Supreme Court on Friday said in spite of Odd-Even vehicle rationing scheme, pollution has reached a severe level, and again called the Chief Secretaries of Delhi, Punjab, Harayana and Uttar Pradesh, to report on measures taken to curb air pollution particularly related to stubble burning.

A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said, “Do not give exemption to two-wheelers, and it will work.”

During the hearing, the judges scrutinized the Odd-Even scheme of the Delhi government in respect of air quality index data gathered in the past two years. The judges queried the Delhi government counsel, senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi, what purpose the scheme served by keeping out cars which contribute mere three per cent of the total pollution.

Odd-even scheme in Delhi
The court observed the data presented by the authorities suggest the Odd-Even scheme had hardly any effect on improving air quality. Pixabay

The court observed that Delhi’s local pollution is a major problem, if stubble burning which contributes 40 per cent is kept out.

“According to the authorities, stubble burning has reduced to somewhere near five per cent now…we are concerned about Delhi’s local air pollution. What is the government doing?”

The court observed the data presented by the authorities suggest the Odd-Eeven scheme had hardly any effect on improving air quality. “Question is what are you gaining by this scheme?” observed the court.

Also Read- Pollution Problem in Delhi Likely to Influence Upcoming Delhi Assembly Polls

Further commenting on the social aspect of the Odd-Even scheme, the court said “Odd-Even will only affect the lower middle class but not the affluent ones since they have multiple cars… Odd-Even isn’t a solution, but public transport could be. But nothing has been done about that”, said the court.

The hearing on the matter will continue on November 25. (IANS)