Stir in Kerala for right to booze conveniently

via Daily Pioneer published on October 16, 2011

People of Kerala, State with the country’s highest per capita alcohol consumption, have seen several anti-liquor agitations but a group of boozers in Alappuzha, a hot tourist destination famous as Venice of the East, staged an agitation the other day to safeguard their “right” to booze conveniently.

The incident took place at Mamood Junction in Alappuzha on Saturday morning. Regular boozers who had reached the place’s retail outlet of the Kerala State beverages Corporation (BevCo), the State-owned monopoly bootlegger, were happy to sight a truck coming towards the shop in the morning itself, expecting that it was bringing ambrosia for them.

But happiness soon turned into rage as they learned that the truck had come to take away the entire liquor kept at the outlet, set conveniently in an enclosure guarded by high compound walls, to a new place the corporation had recently rented. Shouting slogans against shifting the outlet, the boozers blocked the truck.

But Lalichan and Pushkaran, two regulars among the boozers, surprised even their comrades by throwing themselves in front of the truck, saying the driver would have to crush them under the wheels if the liquor from the outlet was to be moved out. Comrades came out of their surprise and began shouting slogans to declare solidarity with Lalichan and Pushkaran.

“Surrounded by these compound walls, this shop is not a nuisance to anybody in this locality. Also, we can safely and happily buy “the thing” from here and do the boozing. We won’t allow you to shift this shop from here,” Lalichan said leaning against the front wheel of the truck.

The local authorities of Bevco soon understood that the issue had already got out of their hands and so the managing director of the corporation stationed in Thiruvananthapuram was briefed on the developments.

The authorities came to the decision that the liquor outlet need not be shifted for the time being. The drinkers welcomed the decision with howls and embraces and Lalichan broke his “fast” by taking the soda water offered by a boozer comrade.

BevCo, running 337 retail liquor outlets, had achieved a total sales turnover of Rs 6,730 crore in 2010-11 while this was Rs 5,539 crore in the previous year. Every passing year, Kerala witnesses a 25-percent increase in the money spent on buying liquor.

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