Kerala liquor bars

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Kerala liquor bars / KERALA TOUR OPERATOR

The one question that lingers in every tippler’s mind in Kerala now would be whether they have to wait till 5 pm to get their daily quote everyday in the wake of the suggestion made by the Kerala High court. The court has opined that keeping the bars open during daytime will encourage people to drink during working hours, a reason which has not gone down well with everyone.

However, most people are skeptical on how far curtailing the selling hours of liquor will curb alcoholism. They argue that even in states that imposed total prohibition, alcohol is sold clandestinely, which has reduced the idea of prohibition into a mere eyewash KERALA TOUR OPERATOR.

Kerala tops the list of the major liquor consuming states in India and accounts for over 16% of the total liquor consumption in the country. Those who stand up for the cause of the liquor consumers argue that by keeping the bars closed during day time, the supply of illicit liquor might go up Kerala.

There are over 700 large and small watering holes in Kerala that caters to the boozing instincts of the Keralites. At present the bars open their shutters in the morning and the customers start queuing up from the early hours of the day itself. Alcoholic beverages are sold in Kerala through a chain of 346 retail outlets and 716 liquor bars. The court’s suggestion will be applicable only to the bars, which accounts to only 21% of the total liquor sales. The bulk of the sale is effected through the retail shops owned by the Kerala State Beverages Corporation (KSBC) and the 46 shops run by Kerala State Co-operatives Consumers' Federation (Consumerfed). Liquor sale revenue touched a staggering 7,860 crore rupees in the year 2011-12, making it a substantial revenue earner for the government.

The rising alcoholism among Malayalees has always been a grave concern and the government had appointed a committee under the chairmanship of veteran Gandhian AP Udayabanu appointed to study the feasibility of total prohibition in Kerala. In its recommendation in 1988, the committee had suggested a gradual phasing out of hard liquors and substituting it with beverages of low alcohol content like beer, wine and toddy. It is interesting to note that the suggested truncated opening hours of the liquor bars has come soon on the heels of the suggestion of the court to ban toddy in Kerala. It will be worth watching how this brewing issue will end up in the days ahead.

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