The deputy moderator of the Church of South India, the Rt. Rev. Thomas K. Oommen has denounced the Kerala State government’s U-turn on prohibition. The Kerala government had pledged to impose a total ban on the sale of alcohol in the state by 2015. The sale of liquor is a state monopoly and the government had initiated its ban by tightening licensing laws, closing dram shops, and restricting the sale of alcohol to established restaurants and hotels. On 2 January 2015 the bishop said the government had caved in to the liquor lobby after it announced it would reopen over 400 bars closed in October. The bishop alleged the change in policy had come about through bribery and other underhanded means. Placing the interests of the moneyed few above the needs of the people was a betrayal of democracy, he said.