The Kerala State Beverages Corporation (Bevco) is waiting for alcohol passes to be issued by the Excise Department to finalise the plans to supply booze at the doorsteps of alcohol dependants. No such passes were received at the offices of Bevco on Wednesday.
On receiving the passes, Bevco will forward it to the warehouse concerned from where alcohol will be delivered at the doorsteps.
There are 23 warehouses in the State and the nearest one will have to be identified. Staff and other facilities have to be mobilised for the exercise at the time of the national lockdown, said a senior Bevco official.
The initiative is likely to incur losses for Bevco as it will also have to hire vehicles for the door delivery, he said.
Besides the cost of alcohol, a service charge of ₹100 will be levied from the applicant.
The operational aspects of the unusual assignment will be fully known only when the alcohol passes are received, the official said.
The Excise Department did not process the 30 applications it received as it was a dry day on Wednesday.
A circular issued by the department asked senior officials to ensure that only applications certified by government doctors displaying signs of alcohol withdrawal symptoms need to be considered.
IMA, KGMOA move HC
Meanwhile, the Indian Medical Association's de-addition arm, National Mental Health Wing (NMHW), and the Kerala Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA) moved the Kerala High Court against the government order.
In a petition, N. Dinesh, chairperson, IMA, said the decision was unethical. There are scientific ways to treat those with withdrawal symptoms. Giving them liquor is no solution. If proper treatments are given the syndrome can be fully cured. The government cannot abdicate their constitutional obligation to prevent alcohol and drug abuse. It said the order would send a wrong message that alcohol can be used as a medicine for treating the symptom, which is unscientific.
KGMOA leader Joseph Chacko said all doctors were together in the protest. It was decided to write the treatment protocol too if anyone came seeking certification for withdrawal symptoms.
He said it was against ethics to mention alcohol withdrawal symptoms without proper examination. Such a diagnosis requires a scientific approach and psychiatrists are the qualified medical professionals to give the correct diagnosis, Dr. Chacko said.
No compulsion: CM
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the government had at no stage compelled government doctors to prescribe liquor to those habituated to alcohol. It had merely followed the pattern adopted by governments in other States which prohibited the sale of legal liquor. Mr. Vijayan said bootleggers, illicit brewers and spirit smugglers had stepped into the void caused by the non-availability of alcohol. He has instructed the Excise Department to prevent such elements from getting a foothold in the State.