Special Correspondent

In protest against State liquor policy

KANNUR: The Kerala Prohibition Council (KPC) will organise an indefinite ‘satyagraha’ in Kannur and Thiruvananthapuram from May 1 in protest against the State government’s liquor policy.

Thomas Thythottam, KPC State president, said at a press conference here on Tuesday that the indefinite satyagraha was being organised to raise the demands including restoration of Sections 232 and 447 in the Panchayati Raj and Nagarapalika Bills that empowered local bodies to take decision on liquor shops, revocation of licences for 1,610 toddy shops issued by the government, the marketing of ‘Neera’ after banning all toddy shops, the enforcement of the Udaya Bhanu Commission recommendations and the organisation of anti-liquor campaigns by the government.

‘No justification’

He said that the Sections in the Bills had been revoked by the previous Left Democratic Front government headed by E.K. Nayanar fearing huge revenue loss.

He also said that there was no justification for issuing licences to more toddy shops when the availability of toddy today was not adequate to supply to the existing ones. An estimated 5.5 lakh litres of toddy was required for 5,500 toddy shops, he said.

Though three lakh coconut palms in the State were said to be used for toddy tapping, tree tax was being remitted for 50,000 palms. This showed that adulterated toddy was being supplied through all toddy shops in the State, the KPC president said.

Fr. Thythottam alleged that there was puzzle in the slashing of toddy shop licence fee in the State by 20 per cent. The government had incurred a loss of Rs.10 crore from this, the KPC president said.

He also accused the Kerala government of disrupting arrack ban in the State by allowing distilleries to produce liquor that was cheaper than arrack.