Kerala recorded a one-fourth slide in sale of Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL), but an increase in sale of beer and wine in the past 21 months after the Congress-led UDF government implemented its new liquor policy. This was stated in a report presented at the International Conference on Effective Strategies for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (I-CON 2016), organized by 'Subodham', a state government initiative to completely eradicate the menace of substance abuse in Kerala, which concluded here on Friday.
The demand for IMFL in the state declined by 5.4 crore litre compared to 21 months before the liquor policy came into force. The overall sale of liquor in the state has fallen by 24.87 per cent even though there has been an increase in the sale of beer and wine, according to the report.
The new policy allowed the sale of foreign liquor only through Five Star category Hotels. As part of its liquor policy, the government had closed down 700 odd bars and turned them into beer and wine parlours.
The liquor policy also envisaged to make Kerala a liquor-free state by 2023.
The sale of IMFL dropped by 24.92 per cent in the past 21 months while there has been a 63.65 per cent increase in the sale of beer and a 260.02 per cent rise in the sale of wine.
As per the report compiled by the Kerala State Beverages Corporation, brandy amounted to 37.16 per cent of total liquor sale during 2014-15 in the state; rum constituted 30.28 per cent of total sale, beer 27.98 per cent, vodka 3.42 per cent, whisky 0.84, wine 0.28 per cent and gin 0.04 per cent. "If we look at the socio-economic impact of Keralas love for liquor, the state has incurred a loss of around Rs 15,800 crore by way of criminal acts, road accidents and problems faced by families," Subodham Director K Ampady said.
Alcohol-related crime amounted to 59 per cent of the loss incurred by the State, while accidents constituted 40 per cent. "Alcohol usage in the state is far bigger than the figures given by the Beverages Corporation," Subodham Advisor Johnson Edayaranmula said.
Sale of 'seconds and thirds' liquor, illicit liquor, defence quota, liquor smuggled from neighbouring states and those bought from duty-free shops in airports are not normally included by Beverages Corporation while compiling these figures.
Findings show that around 32.9 lakh people out of the 3.34 crore total population in the state consume liquor. This comprises 29.8 lakh men and 3.1 lakh women. Around five lakh people consume liquor on a daily basis.
Of this, around 83,851 people including 1043 women are addicted to alcohol, according to the report.
After the new liquor policy came into existence, Kerala has quit its position as the state with highest per capita consumption of foreign liquor in India.