KCBC's hunger strike against Govt's liquor policy

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Kochi, Feb 6 (UNI) Strongly opposing the LDF Government's new liquor policy, the Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC) today observed a hunger strike demanding a ban on the sanction of new liquor shops in the state.

Addressing the gathering at Maneka Junction here, KCBC Vice-president Bishop Joshua Mar Ignathios said the policy was aimed at helping multi-national corporations, which were eyeing the state's market.

He said the LDF had already reopened more than 1,600 of the 2,000-odd toddy shops, closed down by the previous UDF Government under A K Antony.

Chairman of the KCBC Commission for Temperance Bishop Sebastian Theketheriyal said the new ''abkari policy'', which would come into effect from April one, may also contain provisions for reducing the cut-off distance between liquor shops and certain identified institutions to 200 metres.

Nearly 500 people, including members of the clergy and representatives of 29 Catholic dioceses from all over Kerala, took part in the hunger strike.

The gathering also demanded that awareness programmes against liquor and narcotic substances be conducted in schools.

Kerala had the highest per capita consumption of liquor in the country.

UNI ARC SJ MSJ HS1617

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