Liquor sales dip in Kerala after new excise policy

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 19 (IANS) The sale of Indian-Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) has dipped by one fourth over the past 21 months compared with earlier sales figures, after a new liquor policy came into force in Kerala, government figures show.

“The demand for IMFL in the state declined by 5.4 crore litres compared with the demand 21 months ago before the new liquor policy came into force. The overall sale of liquor in the state has fallen by 24.87 percent even though there has been an increase in the sale of beer and wine,” said a government report presented at a seminar organised by ‘Subodham’ here on Friday.

Subodham is a Kerala government initiative against alcoholism and substance abuse, which organised the seminar on ‘Effective Strategies for Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse 2016’.

While IMFL sales dropped, there has been a 63.65 percent increase in the sale of beer, says the report.

As part of its liquor policy, the government closed down bars and turned them into beer and wine parlours.

“If we look at the socio-economic impact of consumption of liquor in Kerala, the state loses around Rs.15,800 crore by way of criminal acts, road accidents and problems faced by families,” said Subodham director K. Ampady.

According to Subodham advisor Johnson Edayaranmula, the sale of illicit liquor, that from the defence quota, liquor smuggled from neighbouring states and that bought at duty-free shops at airports have not been included while compiling these figures.

British policy expert Derek Rutherford, chief guest at the three-day event, said the state government’s alcohol policy aimed at addiction-free Kerala by 2023 will succeed since it was being implemented in a phased manner with public support.

“Any policy must be grounded in science, be culturally sensitive and politically pragmatic,” said Rutherford, adding it must be implemented only with people’s support or else it will fail.

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