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Chandy committed to total prohibition

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Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy during an election Campaign rally supporting Congress Candidate in Coimbatore on April 19, 2014. (Photo: IANS)Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy ┬áreiterated that the aim of his government is to achieve “total prohibition” in the state within a 10-year period.

Chandy was replying to a motion given notice by the Left opposition in the assembly.

“You need not have any apprehension that we are going to dilute the liquor policy. Our aim is to achieve total prohibition in a period of 10 years,” he said.

Chandy said the state government was currently working on certain corrections in the liquor policy declared Aug 21.

CPI-M legislator A. Pradeep Kumar sought leave for an adjournment motion stating that the ruling UDF meeting Monday had entrusted the state government with the task of diluting the liquor policy.

“Instead of total prohibition, you should concentrate on reducing liquor consumption through awareness. We can discuss on bringing a system of liquor rationing so that those employed in the liquor industry do not lose their jobs,” said Kumar.

State Excise Minister K. Babu said the sincerity of the Congress-led government towards liquor is very clear.

He accused the Left government of sanctioning 152 new bars when it was in power during 2006-11.

“…We gave sanction to just 60 out of which 39 were given after the court intervened. You increased the blending capacity of distilleries, but we did not and instead we doubled the daily permit fee for serving liquor from Rs.25,000 to Rs.50,000,” he added.

He said his government reduced the quantity of liquor that an individual can possess from 2.75 litres to 1.5 litres.

Leader of Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan, however, did not agree and led the opposition walk out from the house.

The United Democratic Front (UDF) meeting Monday gave the nod to the Chandy government to make necessary corrections in the liquor policy which has drawn a lot of criticism in the state.