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Concern over rise in alcoholism

Special Correspondent

KOCHI: The sale of liquor in Kerala, as registered by the State-owned Kerala State Beverages Corporation, has been rising steadily. The sales during the current financial year is expected to cross Rs. 6,500 crores, about Rs.1,000 crores more than the previous year. Record sales during festivals has been a notable feature of the business of the brew. Sales worth Rs.85 crores took place at the Bevco outlets during the first three days of the last Onam festival, according to officials.

Workers' addiction to liquor has been affecting productivity in many small enterprises. The bakeries in Kerala, for instance, have been facing problems arising out of the menace of alcoholism. Bakers Association Kerala, the apex body of bakers in the State, has been striving to maintain hygiene through a new initiative involving certification of the bormas (kitchens), but alcoholism among the young workers is posing a major challenge to the work flow at several places, according to its president P.M.Sankaran.

Similar stories of productivity loss are aired by various organizations. Construction workers within and outside Kerala, working at various sites in the State, spend a considerable amount on liquor. An intoxicated driver of a private city bus was booked by the Kochi police during a routine inspection in the morning hours, a few days ago.

Roy Thekkan, General Secretary of Ernakulam district Consumer Protection Forum, suggests that awareness classes be conducted in schools as well as religious fora on the issue.

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