THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The LDF government’s liquor policy, declared on Thursday, will not flood the state with liquor, Excise Minister T P Ramakrishnan said on Friday.
The UDF policy had triggered a surge in the use of narcotic substances in the state, especially among the younger generation, he said, addressing a workshop on de-addiction here.
Ramakrishnan reiterated the LDF Government’s support of abstinence rather than an outright liquor ban.
People who oppose the consumption of liquor should not be using it themselves, he said. "I know many people who take liquor. They have come out strongly against it (the policy).
That is not acceptable. If I’m speaking against liquor, I shouldn’t be using it myself,’’ he said.
The state government, he said, has an open mind on the liquor issue. "Let the shops close because the people have stopped drinking,’’ he said. Narcotic substances have the younger generation in their clutches, and urgent measures are required to rescue them, he said.
‘Blanket ban on alcohol impractical’
SNDP Yogam general secretary Vellappally Natesan on Friday said the LDF government’s liquor policy was ‘practical’.
“A blanket ban on alcohol in the state is impractical. I welcome the new liquor policy. I don’t think there was any corruption involved or any money was taken from bar owners for changing the policy,” Natesan told reporters. He said following the change introduced by the previous UDF government in the policy and the closure of liquor outlets and bars, use of narcotics had increased manifold.
“Many children are using ganja. It will destroy society,” said Natesan, who also termed the decision to distribute pure toddy in all bar hotels as ‘good’. “Some people and political opponents classify abkari businessmen as the liquor lobby. There is no such lobby in the state,” he said.
RSP frowns as Shibu hails LDF Govt decision
The new liquor policy unveiled by the LDF government has found an unlikely admirer in RSP leader Shibu Baby John even as the UDF brass went into a huddle to chalk out strategies to counter it.
In a Facebook post barely hours before the UDF brainstorming, Shibu hailed the LDF’s liquor policy. He was also scathing in his criticism of the liquor policy of previous Oommen Chandy-led UDF government - in which Shibu handled the Labour portfolio - blaming the ‘immature and ill-timed decision guided by sentiments’ to close down bars for the UDF’s humiliation at the hustings.
“The LDF policy has set right a mistake. My personal stand is it is a welcome decision as far as the state is concerned,” he said. The RSP, however,dissociated itself from Shibu’s views terming them personal. It also vowed to stick to the UDF’s stated position on the issue.