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Tipplers wait in Kerala set to end soon

Tipplers wait in Kerala set to end soon

Thiruvananthapuram:   The wait for tipplers in Kerala is all set to end in the coming week as the State Excise department has given nod to an IT firm at Kochi to develop an app, which has already begun its work to link about 1,200 liquor vends where beer, wine and liquor would be sold virtually.

The IT firm Faircode is now having a trial run and by Tuesday according to sources, in the know of things it is likely to set all the bugs to make it a fool proof one.

Once ready, tipplers can book their purchase of their favourite drink on the app and come and collect it from the outlet.

The bottles will be available from around 301 state-owned existing liquor outlets, besides for the first time it would also be available at the same price from all the bars and beer and wine shops in the state, which are presently closed due to the lockdown.

In all there will be over 1000 outlets from where tipplers can source their drink.

In this new set up, however the state government has not given permission to numerous licensed clubs across the state.

Even though the Congress led opposition has screamed that allowing bars to sell liquor bottles is a corrupt deal between the CPI-M and the bar owners, but, State Excise Minister T.P. Ramakrishnan has denied any foul play and said this is only a temporary arrangement and would end when the lockdown norms are lifted.

“Fail to understand what the priorities are for the Pinarayi Vijayan government. Is selling liquor the main agenda for them. The excuse given is there will be overcrowding as was seen in other state, if this is sold only through the state owned outlets. It’s wrong, was there any crowding when people waited to buy their food items from shops. There are other things behind this deal,” lamented former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

The state exchequer has been reeling under revenue shortfall. Last month, the state government collected a mere Rs 250 crore from various sources.

Sale of liquor and beer is one of the biggest revenue earners in Kerala. In the last fiscal, the southern state garnered Rs 14,504.67 crore on this count.

An earlier study conducted in Kerala revealed that around 32.9 lakh people – 29.8 lakh men and 3.1 lakh women – out of the state’s 3.34 crore population consume liquor. Around five lakh people consume liquor daily. Of these, 83,851 people, including 1,043 women, are addicted to alcohol.

However State Finance Minister Thomas Issac who is finding it tough to make both ends meet said through this new arrangement he expects to rake in an additional Rs 2,000 crores.

In all likelihood, supplies is expected to begin towards the middle of next week.

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