Thiruvananthapuram: The price of liquor went up in Kerala on Friday after the government, in its bid to enforce total prohibition, imposed an additional 25 percent tax.
Also, an eight percent tax hike on tobacco products came into force Friday, making them more expensive.
"We have already decided that on Oct 2, 2023, total prohibition would be in force in the state and all the measures that we are now implementing is to make the availability of liquor less available and another step to wean away people is a hike in price," Chief Minister Oomen Chandy said.
"Our aim is to make people kick their habbit and the gains that we get through taxes is nothing when one looks the loss this causes," he added.
The government announced its new liquor policy in August and decided that barring 20 five-star hotels, no other hotels could serve either liquor or beer. But the Kerala Bar Owners Association approached the Kerala High court against this decision and a verdict is now awaited.
From Oct 2, the government has shut 39 of the 383 state-owned retail liquor outlets. It has also decided to close down 10 percent of the retail outlets every Oct 2 and all Sundays, apart from the first of every month, have been declared as dry days.
According to the finance department, there is going to be additional revenue of Rs.1,494 crore on account of the 25 percent hike in liquor and eight percent increase in tobacco products.
Meanwhile in the hilly district of Idukki, people at Vellathoval, cutting across party affiliations, have begun protesting, asking the government to reopen the lone retail outlet that was shut down Oct 2.