THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The UDF Liaison Committee at its meeting here on Friday decided to go hammer and tongs at the LDF government’s liquor policy while voicing concern over its social and health fallout.
Public meetings will be held in all the 140 Assembly segments on Monday to mobilise public opinion against the policy, UDF chairman Ramesh Chennithala told reporters here in the presence of UDF convener P P Thankachan.
A people’s march to the state Secretariat and district collectorates will be taken out on July 1 when the new liquor policy will come into force. Chennithala said the UDF rejected the LDF contention the previous Oommen Chandy Government’s liquor policy was an utter failure.
"The crime and accident rate have come down, incidents of domestic violence subsided to a large extent and the general environment has been devoid of tension. Even the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar has taken a leaf out of the previous government’s policy.
The new policy will seriously affect the social and health aspects of the public,” he said. “It is gladdening to see the CPI and its secretary Kanam Rajendran finally remaining on the same page with CM Pinarayi Vijayan. Are the ties between the LDF and the liquor lobby this strong?” Chennithala said.
Govt arguments to be countered
The UDF meeting interpreted the government decision to do away with the mandatory NOCs given by local bodies for liquor outlets as a covert attempt to push through the liquor lobby’s interests. The plank of tourism promotion played up as the catalyst for the new policy was also unplugged.
The meeting was told as per Tourism Department’s statistics, the number of foreign tourists who had visited the state in 2014 and 2016 were 9.23 lakh and 10.38 lakh, respectively. The meeting said there is a major contradiction in the government stance it is encouraging abstinence even as more bars are being reopened which will naturally lead to increased liquor consumption.
‘Shibu Baby John’s views personal’
On the Facebook post by RSP leader and former minister Shibu Baby John welcoming the new liquor policy, Ramesh Chennithala said it was the former’s personal view.
CPM, BJP violence flayed
The UDF meeting took strong exception to the escalation of tensions and violence due to the CPM-BJP clashes. "The parties in power at the Centre and the state should put an end to it.It has created a lot of unrest,” Chennithala said.