THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Taking the apprehensions of the workers of bars to be closed down into consideration, the UDF meeting held here on Thursday decided to rehabilitate them.They will be sanctioned bank loans for self employment. Those workers rendered jobless after the closure of Bevco outlets, including women workers engaged to affix stickers, will be rehabilitated.
The Chief Minister said five per cent of the Bevco’s income would be utilised for their rehabilitation every year. A rehabilitation fund, Kerala Alcohol Education, Research and Compensation Fund (KAERCF) will be constituted to help the addicts and other people concerned.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that the UDF had always been sympathetic to the people who are addicted to liquor.
In view of their rehabilitation, more such rehabilitation centres would be opened. A major programme titled Punarjani 2030 will be implemented for the benefit of the addicts and the workers who have been rendered jobless following the closure of bars and Bevco units.
The Chief Minister said the campaign against liquor has evolved into a mass movement. He expressed hope that the entire people of the state would join the UDF in support of the anti-liquor campaign. The Chief Minister requested all the Malayalis to donate their one day’s income for the rehabilitation of the addicts and bar and Bevco workers.
He said the government was aiming to achieve the goal of complete prohibition within 10 years. Chandy sought the total support and cooperation of the people in achieving the goal of total prohibition. When asked by reporters how the UDF could achieve a unanimous decision on the bar issue, especially on the closure of the 418 bars, which has been rocking the UDF for the past several months, Chandy said it was the strength of the UDF. Asked how the government could offset the loss of income from liquor which is estimated at Rs 9000 crore a year, the Chief Minister said that he had already made it clear that the government would not mind losing the income from liquor for achieving the goal of prohibition.
“Social degeneration, the price we had been paying for over indulgence in liquor, several other losses, nothing could compensate such losses,’’ the Chief Minister said.