Kerala Governor P Sathasivam, in his address to the Assembly on Friday, left enough hints that his government would bring in basic changes to the liqour policy of the previous United Democratic Front (UDF) ministry that envisaged prohibition in a phased manner. 

 

"My government is of the view that restrictions on consumption of liquor have not  yielded the desired positive impact," Sathasivam said. "The increase in the use and availability of drugs in the State is disturbing," he added.  The government plans to undertake a detailed scientific study on the social, economic and health problems arising from the consumption of liquor and widespread availability of substances.
 

"My government is of the view that restrictions on consumption of liquor have not  yielded the desired positive impact," Governor P Sathasivam 


The Governor repeated the policy of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) that gave thrust on abstinance than prohibition. " My Government intends to constitute an Awareness Mission to strengthen the awareness of alcohol abstinence and anti-narcotic activities. The Mission will coordinate the work of Student Police  Cadets, anti-narcotic clubs in schools and colleges, NSS, Kudumbashree, State Library Council, various NGOs including Madya Varjana Samithi, Students and Youth Organisations," the Governor said.   The opinion of people of all sections of the society will be taken into account before my government formulates its policy stand.  
 

Also read: Kerala Governor's Address highlights: People's Plan Campaign returns
 

The liquor policy was a major poll debate in Kerala in the Assembly elections this May. The UDF government had initiated a plan to usher in complete prohibition in the state with in ten years in a phased manner. As a first step towards it, the government closed down all the liquor bars except the five star category bar hotels. Though the bars in other categories were allowed to function and to supply wine and beer, the restrictions on Indian Made Foreign Liquor remained. It raised a political storm and a heated debate in the state. The UDF had also also unveiled a plan to reduce liquor availability.  

 

Though the bar hotel owners challenged the policy in the Kerala High Court and the Supreme Courts, they could not elicit a favourable verdict. 

 

Taking an ambivalent position on reversing the liquor policy of the UDF in the beginning, the Left parties soon took a firm decision to stand  for abstinance rather than complete prohibition. But reopening of the bars once closed down will be an uphill task for the LDF. 


Other proposals under Excise Department: 

  •  state-of-the-art-Laboratory to combat substance abuse. 
  •  De-addiction centres  in all District Centres.  
  •  Janamaithri (people friendly ) Excise Offices at Nilambur of
  • Malappuram District and Devikulam of Idukki District  
  •  The Excise Academy and Research Centre at Thrissur will be upgraded to a
  • National Academy.