Serpentine queues in a ' no queue state '
I and Geetha had to drive on the last Thiru Onam day from Trivandrum to Kochi . Onam is the harvest festival of the state and regardless of religion all keralites celebrate it with fervor . Climax of the celebration of Onam is to have the vegetarian lunch on the plantain leaf , rice with a lot of traditional curries , desserts etc eating along with all others in the family.
Interestingly such queues can be seen all the days through out the state. Come the evenings , men from mostly blue collar , white collor or no collar working class (or retired) will be there to spend a portion of their wages (Again highest in India , almost on par with what they can earn in gulf states - an unskilled worker is paid Rs 500/600 plus while skilled is paid Rs 700/ 800 plus !! per day)
Such queues are not restricted to festivals or holidays , every day esp during evenings . Regardless of religion/ community , all people , through out the state 'participate' in this operation !Unfortunately Kerala has reached the level of problems more than due to 'social drinking' , a state of ' rain or shine we shall have wine' !
Monopoly by Govt
Liquor business is monopolised by the Govt run corporation - Kerala State Beverages corporation .Through 340 sales outlets , it operates from 9AM to 9PM , 7 days a week , 365 days a year (except on 1st of each month - Govt thinks of the welfare of salaried people! ) ! Other than this ,there are 600 privately run bars and 5000 odd toddy shops ( local palm wine)!! Coming to Toddy shops, toddy is made of coconut palms . It is a fact known that toddy shops are selling many times higher than what actually could make out of all the coconut trees in the state meant for the purpose, for which the fingers point out to adulteration with synthetic toddy!!
Boost to economy
Alcohol helps Kerala Govt to run its economy . Booze boosts the otherwise 'remittance economy ' Kerala is famous for , it seems . 40% of the revenue of its annual budget comes from selling booze.
Kerala has topped the list with eight litres per person per year while the national average is less than two litres. Poor Punjabi is now a far second .The 'intelligent' malayali now spends almost 3 times for liquor than for their staple food rice in the state ( Rs 7500 crores for the booze, Rs 2800 for the rice !!).
Who will bell the cat ?
Everyone in the state knows that the situation is pretty bad . Each Govt wants to make drastic changes but falls short of it each time foreseeing the huge loss of revenue without which state cannot run now . Social and religious institutions are loud and clear on the subject . National media has covered the subject widely. International media such as BBC has run stories on the subject. Sensing the danger the state may fall into , High Court of Kerala has recently suggested that the sale of liquor to be allowed only after 5 PM ,while considering an appeal by the Govt !!
Sadly undeterred ,the self styled ' most literate' , ' most intelligent' , ' most cultured' malayali keeps on drinking ..... other than learning how to form a queue, everything else is bad in this case !
courtesy :photos - google images.