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Kerala CM hails Supreme Court verdict upholding liquor policy

With the new liquor policy, only 27 five-star hotels in Kerala would have liquor bars. Besides this, 33 clubs also have license to serve liquor.The policy also had proposed to close down 10 per cent of the IMFL retail outlets of Kerala State Beverages Corporation, which is the sole distributor of IMFL in the state. With this, 36 IMFL outlets would be shut down every year.

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Varanasi villagers blame Coca-Cola for water scarcity | Reuters

NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Eighteen village councils in Uttar Pradesh are demanding a local Coca-Cola bottling plant be prohibited from extracting water from the ground, claiming its over usage has led to water scarcity in the area, said an environmental campaign group.

The villages, which are located in Mehdiganj area of Varanasi district — the constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi — claim they have been facing water shortages since 1999 when the plant began operations.

“Elected village council heads represent the voice of the people, and they are clear that Coca-Cola is not welcome in Mehdiganj. It is time for Coca-Cola to pack up and leave,” said Amit Srivastava of the California-based India Resource Center, which is supporting the village councils.

“Coca-Cola paints a pretty picture of itself internationally as a responsible user of water, but the reality in India is that it exploits groundwater at the expense of the poor, the women, children, farmers and livestock who have to live with less water because Coca-Cola mines groundwater in a water scarce area for profit.”

Mehdiganj is largely agrarian and communities here rely on groundwater to meet most of their needs, including for personal drinking and washing, irrigation and for livestock. 

Coca-Cola uses the same groundwater source to meet its production needs — placing it in direct competition with the local community, environmentalists say.

Srivastava said the 18 village councils had written to State Pollution Control Board, which granted a license to Coca-Cola, urging authorities to prohibit the company from extracting any more groundwater in the area.

He also pointed to recent data released by the Central Ground Water Authority which declared Arajiline block, where the bottling plant in located, as “over exploited” in 2011.

Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt ltd said a 2012 study by another authority called the Central Ground Water Board into a complaint by villagers of ponds, wells and hand pumps drying up found no evidence that the company was responsible.

“The Central Ground Water Board observed that this depletion was not due to withdrawal of ground water by Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd (HCCBPL) plant,” said a company statement emailed to the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“The report further mentioned there was a clear trend of water depletion in seven blocks of Varanasi district and particularly in Arajiline block, the rate was higher.”

Despite the decline, the report also said there was enough water in ponds, dug-wells and good crops of wheat and mustard were observed in the fields, the statement added.

(Reporting by Nita Bhalla, Editing by Ros Russell)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Kerala to observe first week of November as ‘dry week’

Bevco outlets will be open on November 6.

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Prashant Jadhav
dna
The local body polls in Kerala will see the state go ‘dry’ in various districts from November 1 to November 7. Kerala State Beverages Corporation (Bevco) outlets will remain closed on November 1 and 2 in districts where this is polling, Malayalam Manorama reports. There will be no liquor sale in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Idukki, Kozhikode, Kannur, Wayanad and Kasaragod on November 1 and 2, the report says. The ban will start from 5 pm on October 31. In districts where there is polling on November 5, liquor will not be on sale from 5 pm on November 3. Kottayam, Pathanamathitta, Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Malappuram and Palakkad districts will have a liquor ban from November 3-5. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The liquor bans are in keeping with the Election Commission rule that a ban on the sale of alcohol should come into effect 48 hours before polls start.The counting day is on November 7, so the entire state will be dry on that day as well. Bevco outlets will be open on November 6, adds the report.

Refund please: Telangana govt claims RBI illegally sent Rs 1,274 cr to I-T dept

New Delhi/Hyderabad: The Telangana government has urged the Centre to intervene and direct the Reserve Bank of India to credit back Rs.1,274 crore to the state’s account as the money was transferred “illegally” to the income tax department.

A state government delegation led by Minister for Panchayat Raj and Information Technology, K. Tarakarama Rao met Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Delhi on Saturday.

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Rao told reporters after the meeting that they urged Jaitley to ensure that the money is credited back to the state account.

He said the RBI transferred the money “illegally”, suddenly without any notice and in violation of a court order.

The department had issued notice to Andhra Pradesh Beverages Corporation in the then united Andhra Pradesh, seeking tax dues worth Rs 2,900 crore.

Tarakarama Rao, who was leading the delegation on behalf of state Finance Minister Etela Rajender, said the Telangana government approached the court, challenging the notice on the ground that division of the corporations’ assets and liabilities between the two states was still not completed.

The delegation, which included Chief Secretary Rajiv Sharma, also told Jaitley that the state government is not an income tax assesee.

The state minister said even if the recovery was to be made, it should be from both the states.

The income tax department, earlier this year, issued a notice to attach depots of Telangana Beverages Corporation Ltd. to recover the dues. The Hyderabad High Court granted a stay on the attachment notice on the basis of a petition filed by the state.

IANS

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