Tipplers in Kerala were on Sunday forced to wait for three-to-five hours to get hold of a bottle of liquor leading to traffic snarls at many places, as nearly a quarter of the state-owned retail liquor outlets had to shut down following a Supreme Court ban.
The Supreme Court, which in December last year banned liquor shops within 500 metres on either side of national and state highways, also banned hotels and restaurants along the highways from serving liquor.
In Kerala, liquor is available only through the state-owned retail outlets and the sudden closure of 207 of the nearly 850 retail liquor outlets has caused a huge problem for the tipplers as well as the administration, so much so that even police was having a tough time in managing the surging crowds at many liquor outlets.
"What sort of a rule is this, what the authorities fail to understand is that tipplers will go anywhere to buy liquor... be it 500 metres or 5,000 metres. This is ridiculous as tipplers cannot be just reined in through such rules," said an angry tippler waiting for his turn to buy a bottle in the state capital.
In Kerala, which has a population of 3.34 crore people, around 32.9 lakh people consume liquor.
Around five lakh people consume liquor on a daily basis. Of this, around 83,851 people, including 1,043 women, are addicted to alcohol.
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