'Centre watching impact of liquor ban on Kerala tourism'

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Sep 19 2014, 21:54pm hrs
Liquor banLast month, Kerala had decided that the state would not have any bar except in five star hotels. Reuters
The Centre is keenly watching the impact of Kerala government's decision to drastically reduce availability of liquor in the state on its flourishing tourism sector, Union minister Shripad Yesso Naik said today.

Asked whether the Congress-led UDF government's decision would have a negative impact on Kerala's tourism sector, Union Tourism and Culture Minister Naik said, "There are two opinions about it. I don't know (about impact)..."

Talking cautiously on the issue, Naik said it was a decision taken by the state government and the Centre has nothing to do with it.

"Let some time pass and then we will find out after two months whether tourism arrival has gone up or come down. Give them two months," the minister said, reacting to repeated queries on the issue at a press conference convened here to narrate 100 days' achievements of the NDA government in tourism and culture sectors.

Last month, Kerala, one of the highest consumers of alcohol in the country, had decided that the state would not have any bar except in five star hotels.

Bar owners have challenged the Oommen Chandy government's decision at Supreme Court, saying the move was discriminatory and would affect their business.

The Supreme Court has asked the Kerala High Court to hear the plea of the Bar Owners Association which has challenged the state government order asking them to shut down bars before September 30.