Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president V.M. Sudheeran said here on Saturday that elected representatives should not become tools in the hands of the liquor lobby.

He said that State government had entrusted local bodies with powers to give licence to bar hotels. But this authorisation had resulted in unpleasant situations at many places.

Mr. Sudheeran was speaking at a conference of presidents and parliamentary party leaders in the local bodies and office -bearers of the Congress party in north Kerala.

He said the Congress had to face a piquant situation following seat-sharing with others in the local bodies. But the services due to people should not be denied to them.

The KPCC president pointed out that many local bodies had failed to utilise the budgetary allocations properly. People-friendly projects were absent at grama panchayats. At the same time, an unhealthy trend had raised its head in the name of quarrying, reclamation of paddy fields, watershed protection and sand-mining. The failures and shortcomings should be avoided. Local bodies should concentrate on solid waste management and supply of drinking water, Mr. Sudheeran said.

He said the elected representatives and party workers should give importance to fight social evils such as alcohol and substance abuse.

Mr. Sudheeran said the State government should rethink on hiking property tax.

Such a move would adversely affect the prospects of the Congress party in the three-tier local body polls next year.

He alleged that bogus voting in Kannur and Kasaragod Lok Sabha constituencies had led to the defeat of Congress nominees in these seats. Internal issues within the United Democratic Front in the local bodies should be amicably solved, he added.

UDF convener P.P. Thankachan; Ministers K.C. Joseph and A.P. Anilkumar; Mullappally Ramachandran, M.K. Raghavan and M.I. Shanavas, MPs; K.C.Abu, E. MohammedKunhi, C.K. Sreedharan, K.L. Paulose, K. Surendran, DCC presidents; KPCC office-bearers M.M. Hassan, V. D. Satheeshan, Laly Vincent, Suma Balakrishnan, K.P. Anilkumar, K.P. Kunhikannan, C.R. Jayaprakash, N. Venugopal, T. Sarathchandra Prasad and P.M. Suresh Babu were present.

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