Figures from the excise department show that in just eight days leading up to the main day of Onam on September 11, alcohol worth Rs 487 crore was sold across the state.
Kerala’s excise sales figures in the days leading up to the festival of Onam have shown once again that natural calamities like floods cannot put a dampener on the spirit of the tipplers in the state. Figures from the excise department show that in just eight days leading up to the main day of Onam on September 11, alcohol worth Rs 487 crore was sold across the state.
Last year, in the same period, liquor sales had clocked Rs 457 crores. Alcohol worth Rs 90.32 crores were sold just on the eve of Onam (September 10), possibly because the following day was an official holiday for the retail outlets.
The state’s major festival seasons like Onam, Vishu and Christmas-New Year have always delivered record returns for the state-run BEVCO, which along with Consumerfed, operates over 300 retail liquor outlets.
The outlet in the town of Iringalakuda in Thrissur district stood first in liquor sales across the state, registering sales of Rs 1.44 crores on September 10. The outlets in Kacheripady, Alappuzha and Powerhouse Road in Thiruvananthapuram stood second and third in sales, according to excise figures.
In the 2018-19 financial year, liquor sales in the state had touched a record Rs 14,508 crores, indicating that the trajectory of the excise department is set for high growth and revenue. The figures point to an addition of Rs 1570 crores from the 2017-18 figures. In every month in the last financial year, sales have clocked upwards of Rs 1200 crores.
The thumping liquor sales will be a relief for the state economy, currently grappling with consequences of a nationwide economic slowdown as well as back-to-back natural calamities. The ruling Left government in Kerala has had to re-calibrate its development projects in the face of floods and landslides. It will have to shell out a major chunk of its disaster relief funds to provide succour to those who have lost their homes and property in the disaster.
Though the previous UDF regime of Oommen Chandy had imposed prohibition on the state, shutting down a large number of retail outlets and limiting alcohol to pubs in five-star hotels, the current Left government after being voted to power diluted the policy considerably and reopened many of the bars and outlets.
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