"I was impressed beyond words and I was the first one to tweet congratulating the chief minister for the bold decision," Harsh Vardhan said after declaring the Regional Cancer Centre here as the State Cancer Institute.

"The loss caused to the individual and family due to alcohol and tobacco intake was irreparable. The new liquor policy by the Ommen Chandy government may have become controversial here. But saving people from alcohol and tobacco is the foremost duty of a government as well as health professionals," he said.

"Use of alcohol and tobacco causes premature death for individuals and premature destruction of happy families," he observed.

"Inspiring people to quit tobacco and alcohol intake is the need of the country. As India moves on the glorious path, we have to move in the right direction," he said.

The minister said when something radical was being done by somebody, there would be lobbies opposing it, he said.     In a radical policy shift, Congress-led UDF ministry has decided to close down over 700 bars around the state and phase out the retail outlets, laying the roadmap for total prohibition in a decade.

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