With another festival season around the corner, spirit is being smuggled into Kerala on a large scale again. The seizures that are recorded may account for only a fraction of the total quantity that flows in. How can this menace be curbed effectively? Our readers respond:Honest officials needed
The most selling item in the State during Onam and New Year is liquor and not rice or clothes. Many spend 50 per cent of their income on drinks and only the balance goes to their families. On seeing this as an opportunity, the mafia controlling the liquor trade is investing lakhs of rupees to get back crores. The mafia is bringing in illicit liquor from other States.
Continuous raids and checks will reduce the smuggling of spirit into the State. If the actions of the officials concerned are honest, we can stop the anti-social elements who flood the State with illicit liquor.
Liquor consumption in the State is increasing, particularly during festival seasons when it reaches a peak. Strict vigil and enforcement by the excise and police departments is essential, more so at each and every entry point into the State, including the sea. However, the long-term strategy to curb the flow of smuggled spirit and consequently, spurious liquor, is to make necessary changes in the excise policy. The tax rates on IMFL, perhaps the highest in the country, have to be brought down, which will not only make the sale of spurious liquor unviable but will also make good quality liquor affordable.
The loss of revenue caused by the reduction in taxes will be more than offset by increased sales. But then, the ball is in the government’s court.
by EmailCreate awareness
The people of Kerala generally have a feeling that liquor is essential for celebrating festivals. They think enjoyment is incomplete without the consumption of liquor. We should try to change this concept through an awareness campaign, by distributing leaflets, advertising in cinemas and in mass media. We have reduced smoking by adopting similar methods. Since most of the spirit flows in from our neighbouring States through check-posts with the connivance of officials, special squads have to be formed and they should constantly check all suspected areas including check-posts.
It is a melancholy thought that spurious liquor/spirit is flowing into Kerala, especially during the Onam season. It is unfortunate that the wanton, reprehensible depredations of the spirit mafia to mint easy money are going unchecked, probably due to the nexus between the mafia and enforcement authorities.
Effective monitoring of the activities of the spirit mafia by a devoted, disciplined and dedicated band of police and excise officials with the support of intelligence agencies is needed to avert liquor tragedies.
Chittoor RoadSeal the borders
On all the entry points to the State continuous raids and checking of vehicles and people should be conducted by police and excise authorities to see that not a drop of arrack, spirit, liquor or other alcoholic items is brought into the State.
Even for tax paid alcohol, restrictions should be made on its import. The State government should pass an order banning import of liquor into the State during the festival time. An individual should not be allowed to keep more than one bottle of liquor at a time and a house should not have more than two bottles at a time. Continuous raids should be conducted wherever required and there should not be any political or other interference on this.
Alcoholism underlines the issue, which has defied soberly conceived solutions. Why not, therefore, think out-of-the-box and unconventionally?
First, the government should have a perennial presence in the market, seizing every drop of the stuff likely to enter the State clandestinely.
Add value to the stuff so procured, improving quality and safety by hiring production capacities, and supply the output to meet the demand.
by EmailClampdown needed
The State is in no way short of forces that can halt and arrest the smugglers. Months before the festival season, let us put in place an alert security mechanism. Let the security forces be honest in their duty and be one up on the smugglers.
Let the check-posts be so vigilant that the law-breakers have the feeling that “all eyes are upon us”. Let us not, in any way, entertain these deeds in Kerala.
Why not ban liquor production, sale, purchase and consumption in the State? The breadwinner of the house uses more than half his income on alcohol and his family members suffer a lot due to this.
During the Onam vacation, the sale of spirit touches the peak but if restrictions are put in place, the quantity available in the market will come down and the usage also will decrease.