500 temperance clubs to be formed in schools and colleges

K. Babu, Minister for Excise, on Tuesday flagged off a mass run to mark the week-long awareness drive against liquor and narcotic use. The run which began at High Court junction ended at the Town Hall.

The State government will issue an ordinance to give local bodies the authority to sanction new liquor shops within their jurisdiction, Mr. Babu said after he inaugurated a public meeting at the Town Hall.

He said the powers vested in local bodies for the same under different sections of the Panchayat Raj-Nagarapalika Act were reinstated last November.

The State government was not planning to treat the liquor industry as its main source of revenue, neither was it aiming to have a regulatory mechanism for the department of excise.

The department will be given social responsibilities, he said.

The liquor menace could not be treated theoretically or emotionally, the need of the hour was practical solutions. Absolute prohibition was not practical.

Decision on financial support for deaddiction clinics from State Beverages Corporation will be taken at the next director board meeting, the Minister said.

A new post of joint commissioner has been formed to coordinate the anti-liquor activities. Already, 306 anti-liquor clubs have been formed in schools and colleges in the State and this will be raised to 800 clubs. The financial support for awareness campaigns was increased from Rs. 20 lakh to Rs. 2 crore last year, he said.

In his keynote address, K.V. Thomas, Union Minister of State for Food and Consumer Affairs, said that the battle against liquor and narcotic drugs should start in the minds of people. A practical vision is needed and the State government is now progressing in the right direction, he said.

Mayor Tony Chammany presided over the function. Olympian M.D. Valsamma administered the oath against liquor and narcotic addiction. Dominic Presentation, MLA; Eldhose Kunnappally, president, District Panchayat; Soumini Jain, Corporation councillor; K.M. Binu, Olympian; M.A. Francis, Central Region Joint Excise Commissioner; and V. Ajith Lal, Deputy Excise Commissioner, spoke.

Students of St. Antony’s High School and St. Antony’s Higher Secondary School, Kacheripady; Darul-uloom High Secondary School; Government Higher Secondary School, Elamakkara; Sree Narayana High Secondary School, Ayyappankavu; and Our Lady Convent High School, Thoppumpady; participated in the run.

The coordination committee for Gandhian bodies observed Gandhi Jayanthi celebrations at the Gandhi Bhavan here. Poet P.I. Sankaranarayanan presented the Malayalam version of Gandhiji’s favourite bhajan. Gandhian Thankappa Menon presided over the function.

The district administration will organise various literary and cultural programmes in schools for one month.

The book ‘Jeevithavijayathinu Gandhi sookthangal’ brought out by the Department of Information and Public Relations will be distributed in schools.

A sub-district level essay writing competition will be held for high school students on the subject ‘My contribution to making of clean Kerala’ on October 5.

Top two position winners at the education district level will compete at revenue district level competitions. Books worth Rs. 1000, Rs. 750 and Rs. 500 will be given to winners.

Essay writing competitions for government employees will be held at the taluk level on October 6 and the district level competition will be held on October 20.

The theme for the competition is ‘My contribution in the making of a corruption-free India’. The competition for higher secondary students in the revenue district level will be held on October 8.

The district administration is also planning to honour two Gandhians at the valedictory session of the Gandhi Jayanti week celebrations.

The occasion was marked by a cleanliness drive taken up by police stations in the city.

Film actor Meera Nandan and T. Gopalakrishna Pillai, Deputy City Police Commissioner, jointly inaugurated the cleaning drive organised by Janamaitri police station at Kadavanthra.

Members of the residents’ associations and Kudumbasree units, students of Indira Gandhi nursing college, and various voluntary organisations joined hands with the police to take up the drive. The drive was led by Anil George, sub-inspector, Kadavanthra.

The premises of Town Central Police station was also cleaned up under the leadership of Sunil Jacob, Assistant Commissioner of Police; D.S. Sunil Jacob, Circle Inspector and A. Ananthalal, sub-inspector.

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