THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala’s love for alcohol is famous. However, Malayalis, it seems, are not ready to surrender their pride if the responses to the government initiative of providing liquor to those who turn up with the prescription of medical practitioners are any indication. On the first day of the launch of the scheme, only 30 Keralites approached the Excise Department with a prescription. On day 2, there were hardly any takers for the prescriptions.
Dr Binu K B, assistant surgeon, PHC, Porathisserry in Thrissur, told TNIE he had consulted over 100 patients on Tuesday and Wednesday. Not even a single person turned up seeking a prescription to get liquor from a Bevco liquor shop. “I have also some limitations to establish that a patient has alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Even though the clinical symptoms of a patient point to alcohol withdrawal symptoms, it has to be established by a psychologist,” he said.
A tippler Navas K A (name changed) said, “I used to drink 3 to 4 pegs daily and I feel something amiss in my life in the past few days after the lockdown. But I am not ready to testify before a doctor and in front of the excise officials that I am an addict to get my daily quota. Also, liquor would be sent to the house of the customer, which an average Malayali with self-dignity won’t prefer.”
Radhakrishna Pillai G, Deputy Excise Commissioner (Abkari), said though the state government issued a direction to give passes to the tipplers who come up with a prescription, we have not issued any passes so far. “The response is very feeble. We think the procedures related to getting the prescription and pass and finally the door delivery offered by Bevco are dissuading an average ‘high-spirited’ Malayali to take this route,” he said.
Sparjankumar, managing director, State Beverages Corporation, said Bevco has some limitations to deliver liquor at the doorsteps. The government has not issued the guidelines required to streamline the process. If demand peaks, it would be very difficult for Bevco to deliver liquor. “We are just monitoring the developments and have not taken a final decision,” he said. Dr Binoj George Mathew, district secretary, KGMO, which aggressively protests against the government decision, said the doctors affiliated to KGMO will not give a prescription as it is against medical ethics. Only four people have turned up in Thrissur district general hospital, whereas the number was 2-3 in some PHCs, he said.
Bevco to charge F100 for home delivery
T’Puram: The State Beverages Corporation (Bevco) has issued a circular to deliver liquor to those who approach its warehouses with doctors’ prescriptions. However, it will levy D100 as service charge for every home delivery. The circular said only rum and brandy will be delivered, and there will be a cap of 3 litres.