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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Saturday, 15 June 2024 5.01 PM IST

New liquor policy should be implemented

liquor-policy

The most disastrous liquor policy was implemented in Kerala when the UDF government was in power. The majority of the bar hotels in the state remained closed due to the ego clash between two prominent Congress leaders. It was this government that taught the common people to drink the maximum amount of alcohol within a short period by hiding behind posts, in cars and entering the cemetery. It was the drug mafia that took advantage of the situation of bars remaining closed. The sale of drugs such as MDMA became prevalent in the state during this period. Similarly, arrack was also banned when the UDF government was in power. Instead, the price of foreign liquor, which was then available for a cheaper price, was doubled. During that time, prominent Congress leaders used to make a foolish claim that daily wage labourers, who used to spend their money on arrack, would start giving their money to homes due to the ban on arrack. However, in reality, daily wage workers were not able to provide any money for household expenses as they started buying foreign liquors for huge prices.

It is completely unscientific to say that the number of alcoholics in Kerala will increase if an additional bar hotel comes up. Kerala is a state where alcohol is not banned. Those who want liquor will consume it by buying it from the government liquor outlets. The drinking habits of people do not depend on the increase or decrease in the number of bar hotels in Kerala. People who buy and consume alcohol are the biggest indirect taxpayers in the state. Earlier, these consumers were not given any consideration while setting up beverage shops. Only after the High Court intervened was the queuing system nearly eliminated by introducing premium counters and other amenities. Some people will come up with bribery allegations when the government decides to bring some changes to the existing liquor policy. With that, the government will back out without making any changes out of fear.

The rationale behind the introduction of Dry Day was that as the first day of the month is payday, liquor shops will be closed to avoid the situation where people overspend money on liquor. Now, even government employees are not getting their salaries on the first day of the month. Who can say that no one in Kerala drinks on the first day of the month as bars and liquor outlets remain closed? It is actually the flawed liquor policy of the government that leads to such bootleg sales. Beer and other alcoholic beverages are readily available on tourist beaches anywhere in the world. In India itself, there is no difficulty in getting beer and other drinks on beaches and other tourist areas in Goa. No report has claimed that law and order problems have increased because of it. If someone takes a bribe, it will come out tomorrow if not today. There may also be an investigation on that account. That's one side. The LDF government should not hold back from implementing a realistic liquor policy that contains various changes in the name of such allegations. The government should be ready to implement the new liquor policy with necessary relaxations.

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