Swami Agnivesh, Social Activist and Chair person of BMM has been championing the cause of total prohibition for the last 48 years.
From his experience of prohibition (success and failure) in Haryana and Andhra Pradesh where he had launched long anti liquor struggles, he has made his realisation public that Prohibition, in order to succeed, needs implementation at National level. A letter of congratulation written by Swami Agnivesh to the Chief Minister of Kerala on the bold step of imposing prohibition in the State reads as under:
23rd August 2014
Chief Minister of Kerala
Trivandrum – Kerala.
My Dear Oommen Chandy ji,
I want to warmly congratulate you on your bold and principled decision to impose total prohibition in the State of Kerala.
I am in total agreement with you that this could have been the toughest decision for you. On the one side , the revenue foresaken on this account by the State is around Rs. 9000 crore. But let me tell you, this misconceived argument has been one of the strongest weapons in the hands of the liquor lobby. I am happy that you have seen the hollowness of this argument. The fact is that for every 100 rupee earned by the govt. on this account , the State was losing Rs. 124/- to keep its machinery equipped to fight against the ill effects of alcohol such as crime, road accidents, diseases mostly affecting liver, suicides etc. The revenue on this account is false and counter- productive. Above figures of revenue gain/ loss on account of alcohol is given by none other than VIMHANS , a renowned agency who researched on the subject extensively.
I fully appreciate your decision to set up a corpus fund to support anti liquor campaigns, to educate people of the ill effects of liquor and for rehabilitating employees who are currently working in bars. You are also aware of the need to tackle illicit liquor trade. These are challenges but one good thing I want to tell you about Kerala is that the highly literate people of Kerala have always been conscious of what is good and bad for society and for the nation as a whole. And here is an issue that has the wholehearted support of the women folk who outnumber men in the State.
I have been championing this cause for the last 48 years in Haryana and Andhra Pradesh and in last 10 years had partnered with various organizations to take the struggle forward within the State of Kerala. I feel very happy that you have taken a very wise as well as a bold decision. There is a formidable strength of people inside and outside Kerala who have been lamenting on the helplessness and hopelessness of the States highest per capita consumption figure of alcohol. You have struck the right chord with the right thinking people. If earnestly followed up, I am sure, those who do not agree with the decision today will praise your missionary zeal tomorrow.
From my experience of prohibition (success and failure) in Haryana and Andhra Pradesh where we had launched long anti liquor struggles, I realized that this step, in order to succeed, needs implementation at National level. Now that you have taken the first decisive step, we should all gird up our lions and make it a National Movement.
I am at the service of the people of Kerala for the realization of Mahatma Gandhi’s dream.
Wishing you all the best.