40 applications received for special alcohol passes to tipplers in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram: A day after the Kerala Government issued orders to provide special alcohol passes on doctor’s prescription to tipplers, who exhibit withdrawal symptoms, the Excise Department received 40 applications from across the state.

The Sen Times is urging people not to use alcohol as a coping mechanism during this coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to ANI, a Senior Excise Official said, “Around 40 people approached us with doctor’s prescriptions to get liquor passes across the State. We will forward it to Beverages Corporation and they will conduct home delivery of liquor.”

Ernakulam topped the list with eight applications, while Kottayam Excise Office received four and Thiruvananthapuram office received three applications.

“As per the notification we received, a maximum of three litre of alcohol can be provided in a week for a person. For availing liquor again they will have to submit fresh application for the liquor pass,” the official added.

An order in this regard was issued by the government on Monday night which outlines the necessary steps to be taken by a person with withdrawal symptoms to purchase alcohol.

As per the order, any individual with a prescription from a government doctor or a doctor from a Taluk hospital or government hospital, where the doctor mentions the patient’s “Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms” can submit the prescription for alcohol to the nearest Excise Range office.

A form also has been provided which should be duly filled to get the liquor pass. The Excise Department after the scrutiny may allow the person to buy Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) from the beverages corporation.

However, the Kerala Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA) came out against the order, saying that doctors affiliated with the organisation will not give a prescription for liquor.

Further, in a statement issued they said they are observing a ‘black day’ on Wednesday in protest against the government move.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) also had termed the direction by the Kerala government ‘unscientific’ and said doctors had no legal obligation to prescribe alcohol.

After the liquor ban was enforced in view of the lockdown, Kerala has witnessed a number of suicide cases allegedly connected with withdrawal symptoms.

Announcing the decision Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had also mentioned that the government was issuing such a direction following reports of people developing suicidal tendencies due to the unavailability of alcohol.