LDF poll manifesto says liquor abstinence its policytext_fields
Thiruvananthapuram: CPI(M)-led LDF Tuesday made it clear in its election manifesto that liquor abstinence is its policy and it would raise the age limit to 23 years for liquor consumption in the state.
"Lessons about anti-liquor awareness will be included in the school curriculum from 8-12th standard. The age limit for liquor consumption will be raised to 23 years," it said.
Promising a corruption-free, secular and developed Kerala, the manifesto guaranteed employment to 25 lakh people in different sectors including IT, Tourism and small scale industries, house and toilets for all, power supply in all houses by 2017 and creation of an exclusive department for women.
It also said all welfare pensions would be increased to Rs 1000 and also promised a comprehensive health insurance scheme to all.
The manifesto, which gives thrust for social security, health, education and environment sectors, was released by front convenor Vaikom Viswan at a press conference here.
Indicating that the left front prefers liquor abstinence rather than total prohibition, which the Congress-led ruling UDF advocates, the manifesto said "the LDF government will take various steps to reduce the availability and consumption of liquor gradually, if it comes to power."
Liquor policy is a major debating point in the state after the UDF government had closed down more than 700 odd foreign liquor bars, below the category of five star hotels, as part of its policy in 2014.
Asked whether the bars, closed during the UDF regime, would be opened if LDF comes to power, Viswan said these bars had been converted into beer and wine parlours and "so how can we say that the bars have been closed in Kerala?"
Referring to granting of license to more five star hotels to serve foreign liquor, he said this showed that the UDF's propaganda that it stood for total prohibition was a "lie".
"Revenue from liquor sale has only increased during this period. Besides this, illicit liquor is flowing in the state.
The liquor consumption has also gone up," the leader said.
On the liquor policy, the manifesto mentioned that a mass people's campaign programme, similar to the one organised by LDF government previously to achieve total literacy in the state, would be conducted to create awareness about ill-effects of alcohol.
Among other things, the manifesto said a Kerala-based bank would be opened by linking the district and state co-operative banks in the state.