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Keralites drank less liquor than last year
The total income generated out of liquor sales in 1987 was a meager Rs. 87 crores, but after 25 years, it stands at a huge Rs. 7860 crores, more than nine times' jump. This economics of drinking is both discouraging and encouraging - for a few.

'THE GOD'S own country' has got something to be cheerful about. A state that downs gallons and gallons of liquor to mark any occasion, happy or sad, seems to be backing away a little from this deadly habit. The latest statistics on year end figures show that this New Year there was encouraging decline in liquor consumption by 67,000 lakh cases. This is particularly important because, Keralites’ liquor consumption records the highest during New Year celebrations.

This has been so since 2001. But this year, a decline of this magnitude sends a healthy message that the state is going sane with regard to boozing out for everything. Sales decline is said to be the result of the State Beverages Corporation sponsored awareness campaigns in the form of seminars, road-shows and street-plays at the grassroots. The corporation is said to have spent more the Rs. two crores for this.

This positive development notwithstanding, there is a little concern for the government on the grounds that liquor is the most income generating area of business, and if more and more people stay off liquor in the coming days, there will be huge dents in the income basket of the state in the long run.

It can be made clearer by looking at the figures from 1987 own wards. The total income generated out of this industry in 1987 was a meager Rs. 87 crores, but after 25 years, now it stands at Rs. 7860 crores, a more than nine times' jump. This economics of drinking is both discouraging and encouraging fire exchequer and thousands of families of the state respectively. One more thing, Kerala is the only state where income from liquor sales outperforms the one from petroleum products.

Healthcare, pharmaceuticals, tobacco, hotel and hospitality industry are the major ones that get benefited by the escalating drinking instincts of Malayalis. Rising general crime rates, violence against women and children, road accidents, breakages of families, poor earning, rehabilitation of addicts and greater instances of killer diseases are the major by-products of alcoholism. In this context, the fall in liquor consumption recorded this time is of course a silver lining to be cheerful about for God’s Own Country and its subjects.

There is hearsay that the KCBC, Kerala Catholic Bishops Council, has been lobbying against Oomman Chandy Government’s pro-liquor policy for quite some time and the present mitigated statistics on liquor sales is but to hoodwink the council’s concerns.

And the Malayalis are drinking day and day out leaving this narrow strip of land a haven for liquor barons and making the state-run beverages corporation a cash cow for the ruling front. It is saddening, indeed, but the thing is it leaves a little for downing a few pegs pitying plight of God’s own countrymen. 

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