The southern Indian state of Kerala on Tuesday eased its ban on the sale and consumption of liquor to stop alcoholics from turning into drug addicts and woo more tourists.
The state’s ruling Communist parties, overturned the previous Congress government’s ban on sale on liquor in all bars except those in five-star hotels.
Bars are also allowed to operate until 11 p.m. local time, one hour later than the previous deadline.
“Prohibition has not succeeded anywhere in the world. It only helped drug smugglers and bootlegging.
“Here we are experiencing a dangerous situation of alcoholics turning to drugs and posing a threat to the society,” Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.
The government’s decision came after the liquor ban was said to have hurt tourism which is a major part of Kerala’s income.
“Moreover, the ban of bar licences to three-star and above hotels has affected tourism, which in turn affected the state’s revenue,” Vijayan said.
The state, which has a high per capita consumption of alcohol, 8.3 litres which doubles the national average of four litres, had brought in a near-complete ban on alcohol under the last Congress government.
Alcohol prohibition in India is currently in force in Gujarat in the west, Bihar in the east and Nagaland in the northeast, as well as in the central-government territory of Lakshadweep.(Xinhua)