Christian body launches anti-liquor campaign in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram, March 10 (IANS) A Kerala Christian body has pulled up the Left government for proposing to sell low-priced liquor in the state and warned of an agitation against this move.

The Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council (KCBC) Tuesday met Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan and Excise Minister P.K. Gurudasan and expressed strong dissatisfaction over the government’s approach towards liquor that, they said has been the single biggest evil which destroys families and people.

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“We are doing our best and we know there is a limit to what we can do. It is the state government which has to act. We are worried that the recent liquor policy of the Left government says that they will start production of low priced liquor at certain state owned government companies,” said chairman of the anti-liquor platform of KCBC Bishop Sebastian Thekethecheril.

A five-member delegation comprising two archbishops, two senior Catholic priests and state secretary of KCBC Madhyavirudha Samithi (anti-liquor) Prasad Kuruvilla met the state ministers Tuesday.

“We decided to meet them and convey our concerns that liquor has been the single biggest evil which destroys families and people. We have a social commitment and we also decided to go ahead with our campaign against liquor all across the state,” Latin Archbishop M. Susa Pakiam said.

KCBC will organise protest meetings March 21 at Angamali in Ernakulam district and March 28 at Kottayam.

Liquor production and sales contribute heavily to the state’s kitty. According to the Kerala State Beverages Corporation, liquor sales are all set to cross a record Rs.4,000 crore (Rs.40 billion) for the current fiscal in the state. The figure was Rs.3,667 crore (Rs.37 billion) in the last fiscal.