Kochi,Oct 14 (): Liquor buying just got easier in God’s own country. For a State whose treasury is facing a shut-down, revenue from government controlled corporation selling Indian Made Foreign Liquor was Rs 8841 crores last year.
A few enterprising guys have come out with a mobile application named ‘Kuppi’ that gives you the liquor brands available in the Beverages Corporation outlets and their exact price. This has created a controversy with the anti-liquor and pro-prohibition groups terming this as an advertisement for liquor and inducing Keralites to consume more.
The application downloaded on the mobile gives detailed data of liquor brands available in Kerala. ‘Kuppi’ in local parlance is used for liquor bottle. Every evening, the outlets of BEVCO see long-winding queues to buy the daily liquor.
AK Antony as Chief Minister did his bit to curb the urge to drink by banning country made liquor (arrack). He then imposed a dry day on the first of every month so that the salary amount is not busted on liquor. Now a tippler standing the line outside the outlet need not wait for the counter staff to tell him the price, if he has the app.The app has been downloaded 25,000 times after the launch on October 5.
Anti-liquor lobby says that each year the sales figures are rising by two thousand crores. ADIC, a NGO fighting against abuse of of drug and alcoholism says this app violates Act 47 of the Indian Constitution as well as Cable Network (Regulation) Amendment Bill. The NGO says Act 47 bans use of intoxicating drinks and drugs for non-medicinal purpose. While mobile is an electronic medium, one cannot advertise liquor under the Cable Act.
However, the creators of the app who remain underground says that all the details on the mobile apps are available on the BEVCO website and nowhere does it promote any brand. But, why liquor asks the NGO.
With Kerala being the first State to open a supermarket for premium brands of liquor so that the well-heeled don’t have to stand in queue, the pro-prohibition lobby is in a minority.
Usually Onam,the four-day festival winds up with news of the outlets that sold the most liquor and creating all-time records. This year the Onam liquor sales dipped by 30% compared to last year. One reason is said to be the crackdown on motorists who are tipsy. Licenses were cancelled and Rs 5000 as fine has kept many tipplers who have a drink in the bars before heading home to skip such sittings.