THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a statement likely to trigger a controversy, Excise Minister MV Govindan said a sizeable section of those working with various youth and student organisations in the state are alcoholics. He was inaugurating the world anti-drug day programme in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday.
“Recently, we tried to create awareness with the help of youth organisations. But a closer look revealed that a good number of youths in the organisations are alcoholics,” Govindan said. The minister wondered how awareness could be created using such youngsters. But he soon came out with a clarification after TV channels began highlighting his statement.
“What I said was about the growing influence of alcohol among student-youth segments. Some sections of the media want to destroy the (anti-drug) campaign,” Govindan said after he came to know of the TV news flash through a note handed over to him in the middle of his speech.
The minister then launched a scathing criticism against the media for spreading “negative” and “false” information.“By giving such negative news, the media is aiding the drug lobby,” he said. Govindan said strong awareness is the need of the hour to prevent this unhealthy tendency among youths.
He said awareness should be created with utmost sincerity and the student-youth organisations could do that with conviction. He said those who take up the task of sensitising society should first become aware of the dangers of intoxicants.
He also pointed out that Kerala has become a drug hub. “Huge quantities of drugs reach Kerala though the sea. Recently, drugs worth Rs 1,500 crore were seized from a boat off the Kochi coast. Apart from Kerala, there are reports of drugs being smuggled by sea to Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra,” he said.