'More booze than books' policy condemned
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 08 May 2001, 17:38 GMT]
"The Sri Lankan government sends liquor to Jaffna more regularly than school text books. On the average, three children in Jaffna receive only one textbook today. Even this limited number is not sent to the schools regularly. The government says there is no room in the ships to send textbooks to Jaffna. However, it sends a very large quantity of liquor to peninsula. This is being done with the clear aim of destroying our society", said V. Sothinathan, an officer of the government's Excise Department in Jaffna, addressing a conference Tuesday at the Jaffna University to take action against the sale of illicit liquor in the peninsula.
"There was discipline in our society before 1995. It is not the case anymore. It is understood that prostitution and the brewing of illicit liquor is encouraged by the Sri Lanka army in several parts of Jaffna. A lot of liquor is available here today. We cannot allow this to destroy our culture. Our young generation should not be enslaved by liquor. We should do the needful by controlling illicit liquor to make our society decent", said Mr. Sothinathan.
Prof. K. Shanmugathas presided at the meeting. Students, teachers, school principals, government officials and journalists took part in the conference.
An action committee to campaign against the sale and consumption of alcohol in Jaffna was selected from among the participants.
It was unanimously decided at the conference to begin immediate action to close 17 liquor shops that are doing business in the environs of the Jaffna University.