Kerala just celebrated Onam, its annual Harvest festival. Apparently, apart from the lavish Sadya spread, the pookalam, the gifts and other celebration, the state seems to have spent a record-breaking amount of money adding a special buzz to the holidays.
During the eight days, including the main day of Onam, the state apparently gulped down nearly Rs.500 Crore worth of liquor. According to The Hindu, the sale of liquor through Kerala State Beverages Corporation (Bevco) outlet, (the State-owned liquor retail monopoly) in the past week alone have exceeded the 2018 figures by an estimated ₹30 crore.
It actually consumed a whopping Rs. 487 crore worth of liquor during the eight days of the festivities. But this isn’t the first time that alcohol sales spiked during Onam. Last year, the amount skyrocketed to Rs. 457 crore.
Apparently, Kerala has the highest per capita consumption of alcohol in the country. For the uninitiated, the state has a prohibitive tax on legal alcohol and there are many more dry days than usual. Reportedly, in its last state budget, the government had increased the tax rate on the sale of foreign liquor through Bevco outlets by 2%. Most of the outlets also remained closed on the Thiruvonam day, in spite of that, the state has seen a rise in the sale of liquor.
An Excise official said, “the closure of outlets on Thiruvonam had spawned hoarding of liquor, and illegal and covert sales. It also prompted bars to up their rates. Many violated their licence conditions by selling liquor as parcels.”
Looks like Kerala had a totally LIT Onam! * wink wink *.
Disclaimer: Alcohol is injurious to health. We don’t encourage the consumption of alcoholic beverages.