Cardinal pans Chandy’s liquor policy ahead of Kerala elections

Cardinal Cleemis warned the faithful not to succumb to inducements and pressures in casting their vote.

Thiruvananthapuram (UCAN): Catholic Bishops Council of India (CBCI) president Cardinal Baselios Mar Cleemis has panned the Oommen Chandy Government’s alcohol policy which allows hotels to pocket bar licences once they win a five-star classification. 
Cardinal Cleemis has called for a water-tight alcohol policy for Kerala, stressing that the state could do without a policy where private players were allowed a free run in the name of five-star hotels.
“We need a liquor policy which plugs loopholes. The sale of liquor is not a Constitutional right. The state government should fully take over supply of liquor and then reduce its availability in a phased manner,” Cardinal Cleemis has written in the May issue of Christava Kahalam, the mouthpiece of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, of which he is the Major Archbishop-Catholicos.
“What we don’t need is a policy where the government backs out from supply in a phased manner and the private lobby opens bars in the name of five-star hotels,” he said.
The Chandy Government’s policy, which came into effect in April 2016, allows only five-star hotels to have bars. This being the case, Kerala is now witnessing a rush to get hotels upgraded to five-star status. More recently, the award of bar licences to eight new five-star hotels in the past 20 months had kicked up a row.
On the question of a total ban vs abstention from alcohol, Cleemis argued that on two points there was wholehearted agreement: that alcohol consumption was alarmingly high in the state and that availability of alcohol should be cut down. All political fronts should approach the matter with an open mind, he said.
Cardinal Cleemis, in his article, also warned the faithful not to succumb to inducements and pressures in casting their vote.
The ‘greatest right accorded by the democratic process’ should be exercised freely and in tune with the individual’s conscience, he said. Candidates who were above corruption, favouritism and communalism should win, the religious leader said.

Source: New Indian Express

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