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AITUC to strike against new toddy sector liquor policies

AITUC to Protest Against New Liquor Policy, Advocates Toddies Sector Amendments

The All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) has taken a stand against the recently approved liquor policy by the Cabinet and plans to stage a public protest. Specifically, the AITUC is concerned about certain decisions within the policy that pertain to the toddy sector. A local strike has been organized for Friday to voice their discontent.

AITUC General Secretary KP Rajendran expressed the union’s viewpoint, stating, “The new liquor policy should have amendments to protect the traditional toddy tappers.” One of the main grievances is that the policy does not mention the establishment of a toddy board, which they believe is crucial for implementing the proposed changes. Rajendran emphasized that toddy tapping should be carried out only by authorized personnel.

Moreover, the AITUC is disappointed that the new policy did not address the minimum distance requirement for toddy shops imposed by the Kerala Abkari Shops Disposal Rules 2002. This rule stipulates that toddy shops should not be located within 400 meters of educational institutions, temples, churches, mosques, burial grounds, and Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes Colonies.

The recently approved liquor policy in Kerala aims to boost the production and sale of traditional toddy across the state while also promoting the in-state manufacturing of foreign liquor and beer. Excise Minister M B Rajesh explained that the policy covers three main aspects: the toddy sector, foreign liquor, and the government’s anti-liquor and drug campaign.

Regarding toddy production, the policy intends to promote it on a plantation basis throughout Kerala, and the toddy produced in the state will be branded as “Kerala Toddy.” Additionally, an effort will be made to reduce wastage by utilizing excess toddy to make value-added products like vinegar through Kudumbashree, an all-women network. A track-and-trace system will be implemented to monitor toddy transportation accurately.

The policy also includes plans to increase the fees for issuing bar licenses and enhance the in-state production of foreign liquor and beer. Furthermore, the government will work to encourage the export of Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) by restructuring registration and export fees. The policy aims to introduce legislation to produce and distribute mild alcohol and wine from locally available fruits.

As part of its anti-liquor and drug campaign, the government intends to strengthen ‘Vimukthi,’ targeting the prevention of liquor and narcotic substance use, especially among school students. The policy also involves initiatives to open more foreign liquor outlets and amend rules to serve foreign liquor in IT parks and eligible premises in IT-like industrial parks.

In conclusion, the AITUC’s planned protest reflects concerns about certain aspects of the new liquor policy, particularly its impact on the toddy sector, while the government’s approved policy seeks to boost traditional toddy production and address various aspects of the liquor industry in Kerala.


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