Kerala Beverages Corporation Ltd (BEVCO) has decided to open 175 more liquor shops to solve the issue of long, overcrowded queues at various outlets. Is this a good move?
We all know that the Kerala Government thrives on the revenue they cash in when people buy alcohol. After all, we’re one of the highest alcohol consuming states in India. However, would opening more liquor shops aggravate the ‘alcoholic’ situation in Kerala or solve the overcrowded issue? Of course, since there is a monetary value for the Government with regards to alcohol consumption, dealing with the latter issue seems like the way to go.
The Kerala High Court stated that liquor shops with long queues are of extreme nuisance and great vexation for passersby and people living close by. One of the judges shared, “Liquor shops still cause great vexation to people, especially women and children, in areas they are located…Parents are also concerned by the bad influence such outlets could have on future generations.” The court further added that non-drinkers should be spared from this inconvenience.
At present, there are 306 licensed liquor shops in Kerala, including 265 run by BEVCO and 36 by Consumerfed. Apparently, there’s one liquor outlet for 1.12 lakh people in Kerala. BEVCO representatives stated to the court that having more outlets would ease the situation. They even suggested having walk-in and parking facilities at liquor shops to control the crowd.
The judges clearly stated that the main problem they want immediately resolved is the harassment and ruckus these outlets result in. Justice Devan Ramachandran shared, “The intent of the Court is to ensure that ordinary citizens who do not drink are spared of nuisance caused by anti-social elements; not to create a 5-star facility for drinkers. My concern is that every complaint I receive is from someone who does not drink alleging harassment from people lining up in front of liquor stores.”
Owing to the less number of outlets compared to Kerala’s population, the Kerala HC suggested that walk-in outlets are the ideal way to go about the situation. This way, there won’t be long queues and dingy shops near roadsides.