Wednesday, 13 May 2020

God's Own Country, Kerala - haven for tipplers!!

An alcoholic freak, theweek.in
During India's independence struggle against the British rule, Mahatma  Gandhiji campaingned against  the consumption of alcohol  and considered it as a major social evil  that would destroy the welfare of the society.  He urged a total ban on drinking. When the Constitutional Committee  wrote the Indian constitution,  to accommodate Gandhiji's view on alcoholism and a powerful anti-alcohol lobby, they included  a section into the Constitution declaring its intention to enforce prohibition across India. But today, state governments across the country are violating this edict with impunity, going back on the assurance given to that grand old man. As for Tamil Nadu, the credit goes to the government headed by the DMK party to lift prohibition. In the later years, alcohol had begun to flow, causing havoc to millions of poor families.  From the Himalayan states to the southern states including Kerala, liquor is available easily. 
Believe it or not God's own country - Kerala has the highest per capita consumption of alcohol in the country and the sale of liquor is on the increase as days go by. What surprises the common man is this upward mobility in liquor sale continues despite the prohibitive tax on legal alcohol and  many dry days.  Last year during the major Onam festival, the most popular one in Kerala, the  liquor sale was  worth $500 crores despite a ban on the sale on festival day. The state government was unable to check on the illegal, covert sale and hoarding.

thehindu.com/
There has been an increasing demand for foreign as well as India made liquor. The tipplers in Kerala have a swell time. For the first time in April 2018, 
 the Kerala State Beverages Corporation (Bevco) outlets and  and Consumerfed outlets  started stocking up Foreign-Made Foreign Liquor (FMFL) along with branded high-end Indian-Made Foreign Liquor. This was done to please the  regular patrons.   Another first is they also introduced self-service facilities in their outlets that had a good ambiance. 'Right service, quality and easy availability of liquor' is the motto of the government agency and now they came up with a noval way to serve the thirsty customers effectively without their having to stand in a long queue to get their favorite brew(s). The Bevco and Consumerfed outlets had a plan to introduce liquor vending machines. You drop in the right money and  press the button, you will get the favorite brew.  Yet another advantage is such bars are open up to 11.30 PM. 
When making alcohol available to the public, as ordered by the High Court, the  government aims at more consumer friendly  service, one Bevco official said. Why the government agency has gotten into FMFL? The reason is simple.  Several foreign brands were being sold clandestintly on the black maket in the state  even during the height of prohibition. Consequently, the state agency incurred loss and to make it up they took a decision to sell FMFL presumably at a competitive price. Though the import duty on the foreign liquor is 150% and the price is high, lots of people prefer foreign liquor to the India made foreign liquor. Since the price difference between FMFL and IMFL, the sale market the the latter is not affected.   Bevco has a proposal to import many brand of foreign made beers to please the beer lovers. Thus God's own country has become a haven for  liquor freakes. 

The Toddy shanties (Commonly known as Toddy Shops), tucked into an isolated place in the midst of greenery  are equally famous where you get the local brew - commonly called ''Kallu''. It is a sort of  local wine with low alcohol content; non-alcoholic versions of palm sap are also available. Also  called 'Toddy', in Kerala  Palm Wine,  Palm Toddy and Kallu  are  all the product of different species of palm trees like Palmyra, coconut palms etc. Only the state agency  has the right to sell it through numerous licensed outlets and lots of people go for it.

According to National Institutes of Health (NIH), 1 in every 13 people in the United Kingdom is an alcoholic. In the USA, 15 per cent have been proven to be problem drinkers, 5 per cent to 10 per cent male drinkers and 3 per cent to 5 per cent female drinkers are alcohol dependent. In India, in the pastone and half  decades, alcohol consumption has gone up and so is the problem of alcoholism.
independenceday-wallpaper.com
 “..Drink makes a man forget himself. He creases to be a man for the time being. He becomes less than a beast and he is unable in his drunken state to distinguish between his wife and sister. He loses control over his tongue and other limbs. It never does the slightest good. I hope, therefore, that you will combat the curse with all your strength..” Young India (23/3/1925)...... ''Mahatma Gandhi''. 
https://www.sarcajc.com/mahatma-gandhi-on-liquor.html
https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kerala-consumes-more-alcohol-this-onam/article29405693.ece
https://www.theweek.in/news/india/2018/04/02/bevco-kerala-fmfl-imfl-alcohol-consumption.html