THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : The state government is exploring the possibility of allowing liquor outlets at KSRTC bus terminal complexes. Transport Minister Antony Raju said that the Transport Corporation will consider providing space for Beverages Corporation’s (BEVCO) liquor outlets at its shopping complexes where vacant space is available.
The move, aimed at generating additional revenue for the debt-ridden corporation, has already kicked up a row. The Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council (KCBC) has come out against the move. After his statement drew flak from various quarters, the minister clarified that the move was not to allow liquor outlets at bus stations.
Antony Raju told reporters on Saturday morning that KSRTC will consider providing space for Bevco outlets. It will be ensured that the liquor outlets will not cause inconvenience to passengers, he said, adding, action will be taken against KSRTC employees if they misuse the facility.
He also said liquor outlets won’t create difficulties to passengers, especially women passengers. ‘No shops will be operated causing inconvenience to passengers. Prime importance will be given to the safety and convenience of passengers,” he said.
“KSRTC staff consume alcohol, not because there are liquor outlets. Also, just because there are outlets, they need not consume liquor,” he said. Meanwhile, Excise Minister MV Govindan said that no final decision has been taken on opening BEVCO outlets at KSRTC bus depots.
The HC had earlier suggested ensuring better facilities to those going to buy liquor. The Bevco has already started a feasibilty study on setting up possible liquor outlets in the state. The KSRTC feels that by providing better facilities at its shopping complexes, it can attract more passengers too. The minister’s statement, however, didn’t go down well with the KCBC, which made it clear that the move will be opposed at any cost.