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Thiruvananthapuram, March 16

A NEW class of licence for setting up `micro brewery' is the highlight of the Kerala Government's excise policy for 2005-06.

According to the policy announced by the Finance and Excise Minister, Mr. Vakkom Purushothaman, in the State Assembly on Wednesday, a licence for setting up micro brewery will be granted to Mascot Hotel, run by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) in Thiruvananthapuram, on an experimental basis.

The licence fee will be Rs 5,000 per year.

New FL11 licence will be granted to three-star hotels and above in places where FL.3 licences are granted.

Besides, FL Rule 19 and 24 will be amended to allow reconstitution of partnerships and change of licensee.

The existing dry days in the State will be retained.

The campaign against consumption of alcohol and use of drugs will be undertaken directly by the Government and through NGOs.

All other existing orders/conditions in respect of foreign liquor will continue to be in force. In the area of toddy, the number of shops will be limited to the number licensed and operating in 2004-05.

The licence fee for shops that have a rental of Rs 1 lakh and above and/or have 20 employees or above will be 15 per cent over the rental fixed in 2004-05.

In other cases, the rental will be 25 per cent above 2004-05.

If the shops have to be entrusted to the employees on concessional terms, the rent will be Rs 500.

The existing toddy licences will be renewed subject to the condition that they do not have any abkari cases against them.

The toddy shops enjoying exemption from distance rules in 2004-05 will continue to do so in 2005-06.

If the exempted shops are shifted, it must be subject to the rules.

The entire licence fee for toddy shops, including the minimum prescribed Abkari Workers Welfare Fund contribution, should be paid in advance for grant of licence.

Further, the applicant who gets licence to run toddy shops during 2005-06 will have to provide employment to one arrack worker as advised by the Excise Department.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 17, 2005)
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