THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Tipplers in Kerala have formed an organization to protect the rights of liquor consumers.
The Kerala Alcohol Consumers Welfare Forum’ President Adinad Sasi, a stage actor, said that the body would seek to ‘protect the rights of liquor consumers´ who are being “exploited” by authorities.
The formation of this forum assumes importance against the backdrop of being housed in a state that has the highest per capita consumption of liquor (8.3 litres) which is higher even than Punjab (7.9 litres). Also, it is nearly one and a half times the national average which statnds at four litres.
The promoters of the drinkers’ Forum, based at Ochira in Kollam district, want society to learn to ‘behave’ with alcohol consumers. According to their directive, drinkers should no longer be a subject of ridicule, humiliation or abuse.
The forum has made a requisition for proper facilities for drinkers belonging to weaker sections who purchase liquor from State Beverages Corporation outlets after paying high taxes. The government should at least spend one per cent of the revenue collected from its sales for the welfare of these sections, was a suggestion made by the forum.
“Now they are forced to drink in unhygienic conditions and have to pay high prices for soda and side dishes,” added Sasi, saying that the forum was not promoting drinking but was more geared towards attending to the needs of drinkers and their families.
Sasi said the Forum would soon submit a 17-point charter of demands to the government. The forum, enrols its members by standing in front of liquor outlets. It already has a 5,000-strong membership and the numbers are only growing.