Kerala: Liquor sales down, beer sales up

Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 1 (IANS) With the Kerala government enforcing its new liquor policy from the current fiscal that began April 1, the sales of liquor have come down while that of beer have gone up.

According to the Kerala State Beverages Corporation, this drop was noticed during the April- first quarter when compared to the previous fiscal.

“During the current fiscal from April to June, there has been a drop in sales of liquor to the tune of Rs.10.74 lakh as compared to the same period in the previous fiscal,” an excise official, who did not wish to be identified, said on Tuesday.

“Likewise, the sales of beer during the same period went up by Rs.13.50 lakh,” the official added.

On account of the new liquor policy, more than 700 bars that used to serve liquor have been closed and today, many of them have licenses to sell only beer and wine.

Liquor is now available in just 24 five-star hotel bars in the state.

Liquor and beer, however, are available in 344 state-run retail shops and here too, every year, 10 percent of them would be closed down as the new liquor policy aims to achieve prohibition in a phased manner.

Kerala Excise Minister K. Babu on Tuesday, while inaugurating a programme (Subodham) that aims to work towards decreasing the demand for alcohol, said the state’s excise department works under many compulsions, particularly with neighbouring Tamil Nadu and Karnataka starting bars on Kerala’s borders.

“The excise department is going beyond the call of duty in spreading an awareness programme through Subodham,” the minister said.

Senior Congress legislator K. Muraleedharan, called for self-restraint in alcohol consumption, rather than outright prohibition, that “can work negatively”.

“Revolutionary prohibition programmes have only created new avenues for alcohol sales and consumption. We have to understand the reality of the situation and find the apt solution for ‘Alcohol free Kerala’,” said Muraleedharan, son of former chief minister K. Karunakaran.

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