Thiruvananthapuram: Though alcohol consumption in Kerala has increased in revenue terms, with sales of Rs 94.79 crore during this Onam season, there has been a quantitative decrease in terms of bottles with an 18 per cent dip under this government, according to Excise Minister K Babu.
Speaking after inaugurating the Consultative Workshop on Subodham Project in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday, he urged all sections of the society to work together with the government on a step-by-step approach to create awareness and towards decreasing the demand for alcohol.
The workshop was devised to put in place an action plan with the participation of religious and community leaders, medical practitioners and the media.
“The state’s excise department works under many compulsions, particularly with neighbouring Tamil Nadu and Karnataka starting bars on Kerala’s borders,” the minister noted.
The aim now is to extract opinions from various sections of society in this regard. He said the excise department is going beyond the call of duty in spreading awareness through Subodham.
“On the other hand, the increase in the use of narcotics is disturbing, but is a little discussed issue. We need to have more active campaigns among the youth in schools and colleges.”
K Muraleedharan, MLA, called for self-restraint in alcohol consumption, rather than outright prohibition, which “can work negatively”.
“Revolutionary prohibition programmes have only created new avenues for alcohol sales and consumption,” he recalled. “We have to understand the reality of the situation and find the apt solution for ‘Alcohol free Kerala’.”