No online sale of liquor as of now: Excise minister

Thiruvananthapuram, Mar 26 (PTI) The Kerala government, which had stopped sale of liqour through bars and state-run retail outlets following the lockdown due to COVID-19 outbreak, has not taken any decision to sell it online, Excise Minister T P Ramakrishnan said .

Those who have withdrawal symptoms due to non consumption of alcohol can make use of the de-addiction centres in the districts, the minister said.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had earlier said that the government will also 'consider' the possibility of liquor sales through online platforms following the closure of outlets of the Kerala State Beverages Corporation (KSBC).

'We have not taken any decision to sell liquor through online platforms. As of now, the present situation will prevail. All the shops and retail outlets will remain closed until further notice,' Ramakrishnan said.

Asked about the addicts, minister said the policy of the government is to reduce the usage of liquor and other drugs.

'We want people to stay away from the use of drugs and liquor. We have de-addiction centres in all districts of the state.

Those who feel some difficulties can approach the centres and make use of the facility,' Ramakrishnan told reporters.

Meanwhile, Excise Commissioner S Aananthakrishnan said the department had initiated strong steps to counter the sale and use of spurious liquor in the state.

'As the Beverage outlets and the bars have been closed, the use of spurious liquor and other drugs are likely to increase.

We have given strict instruction to monitor the sale and trade of such substances,' he said.

Aananthakrishnan also said that stern ation will be taken against the bars which initiates backdoor sale of liquor during the lockout period. PTI RRT UD APR RAVINDRANATH APR RAVINDRANATH