T’PURAM/KOCHI : A day after the government issued an order allowing the Excise to provide liquor to those showing severe withdrawal symptoms with the doctor’s prescription, the department received 42 applications on Tuesday.The department has formulated fresh norms for supplying liquor to the needy. As per the new proposal, Excise will hand over the prescriptions to the respective BEVCO outlets which in turn will deliver three litres of liquor every week to the homes of those showing withdrawal symptoms. However, briefing the media Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the government has not taken a final decision on the issue.
On Tuesday, 42 people approached various excise range offices across the state with doctors’ prescriptions demanding liquor. Of these, 14 applications were found to be valid while others were rejected.In Ernakulam district, eight persons in the 35-70 age group approached the Excise range offices in Ernakulam, Aluva, Angamaly and Varapuzha. This is the largest number of applications received in a day.
A S Ranjith, Excise Deputy Commissioner, Ernakulam, said no decision has been taken on providing liquor to people approaching with medical prescriptions. “We are yet to receive any directive in this regard. More clarity is required on whether the Excise Department has to provide them with liquor. It may take some time before the matter is resolved,” he said.
Commenting on the high rejection, an Excise officer said most of the prescriptions did not have the seal of the doctors and were fake. “Some brought prescriptions from retired and private doctors. This is why the department decided to issue fresh guidelines for liquor supply,” an officer said.
Sources said that most applicants demanded rum and brandy.
Fresh guidelines stated that the brand of liquor, quantity and the price will be decided according to availability in the warehouse. The department will issue a pass, which approved applicants can approach Bevco outlets. After the week’s quota is over, they can approach the excise offices again for a fresh pass.
“We have not issued any order. But we have formulated some norms. But it will be implemented based on the final decision by the government,” a senior excise officer said.
After reports emerged that a few people committed suicide due to the non-availability of alcohol following the nation-wide lockdown, the state government on Monday issued the order to provide liquor to the needy in a restricted manner.
Kerala Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA) on Tuesday said it will observe a statewide black day on Wednesday against the government’s order. In a statement, KGMOA office-bearer Vijaykrishna said the decision will affect the doctors’ morale and the government should withdraw the order. “There are numerous scientific methods to treat people with withdrawal symptoms and that is the medical protocol. Giving liquor for withdrawal symptoms is not ideal,” he said.