Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 2 (PTI) All educational institutions in Kerala will have "Vimukthi Clubs" before Gandhi Jayanti next year to create proper awareness among the younger generation about the menace of addiction to intoxicants.

The addiction-free campaign of the state Excise Department and Vimukthi Mission will be ramped up by forming "Vimukthi Clubs" in all the educational institutions before Gandhi Jayanti day next year, state Excise and Local Self Governments Minister M V Govindan Master said here on Saturday.

Inaugurating a month-long, state-wide addiction-free awareness campaign on the occasion of the 152nd Gandhi Jayanti Day Celebrations here, the Minister said addiction-free programmes will be organised in over 20,000 wards in local self-governments across the state with public participation.

He said a sustained campaign need to be carried out to create proper awareness against addiction.

"Such a campaign should take the message down to the ward level by enlisting the support of all sections of the society to achieve the goals set out by it," he said.

"We are living in times when even children fall prey to this evil. This will seriously affect the future generations. The activities of Vimukthi Mission should reach all educational institutions in the state as our ultimate aim is to root out this menace," the Minister was quoted as saying in a statement here.

"Addiction to intoxicants has reached such a dangerous level as it has begun to affect the social consciousness and mental health of its victims. Tackling this challenge is vital to build a healthy society," Master said, noting that the Excise Department has started meticulously planned efforts in that direction.

Presiding over the function, Transport Minister Antony Raju said authorities of educational institutions should take utmost care to ensure that students will not get access to addictive substances.

"We should also be alert to efforts by vested interests to sabotage programmes against addiction. This has to be properly factored in while planning and carrying out the addiction-free campaign," Raju said.

The Excise Minister released a CD of short films on the awareness programmes conducted by Vimukthi Mission by handing it over to district panchayat president D Suresh Kumar at the function.

As a prelude to the campaign, a bicycle rally from Kowdiar Square to the inaugural venue was flagged off by V K Prasanth, MLA.

Excise Commissioner S Aananthakrishnan said addiction to intoxicants is one of the grim internal challenges faced by society. The Excise Department and Vimukthi Mission have drawn up a meticulously planned campaign to root out this evil, he added.