An essential good? Kerala allows home delivery of liquor

A decision that did not go down well with many, the Kerala Government has allowed the home delivery of liquor, unwittingly bringing it in the category of essential goods, much to the chagrin of the anti-alcohol squad.

Protesting against the decision, the Kerala Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA) on Tuesday said that they will observe a statewide black day on Wednesday, the Kerala government has come out with guidelines that they will supply three litres of liquor every week to those showing withdrawal symptoms, to their homes.

This decision was made after the KGMOA announced that they will work wearing black badges to protest the decision of the State government asking to issue certificates for supply of liquor to those showing withdrawal symptoms.

Earlier, a number of people went to the Excise department with a letter from doctors, but since a huge majority of them was signed by retired doctors and doctors from the private sector, it was rejected by the Excise department.

They will be issuing a pass, which will have to be given to the office of the Kerala State Beverages Corporation, who will deliver it to their homes.

The brand of liquor and the price will be decided according to availability. After the week’s quota is over, they will have to repeat the same process.

Speaking to the media, KGMOA office bearer Vijaykrishna said this decision is going to affect their morale and expect that the government will withdraw this order.

“There are scientific methods of treating people with withdrawal symptoms and that’s the medical protocol. This is something which will affect our morale and numerous side effects will surface. We will not be doing this,” said Vijaykrishna.

It was on Monday that brushing aside strong opposition from medical bodies, the Kerala government came out with an order which allowed the supply of liquor to those showing withdrawal symptoms if they have certificates from government doctors.

Those who are addicted to liquor but not getting the supplies show withdrawal symptoms as per the medical terminology.

In its order, the government said that following restrictions on account of the national lockdown, all bars, liquor retail outlets and toddy shops have been closed and a few suicides by people having withdrawal symptoms were reported and hence there is a need to provide regulated supply of alcohol to such cases and it will be done.

Leading medical organisations, like the IMA, Kerala Government Medical Officers Association and the Indian Society of Gastroenterology’s Kerala Chapter earlier condemned the proposed move and said they will not prescribe it for being it against medical ethics.

Meanwhile, State Health Minister K.K. Shailaja trying to cool down things said she thinks the order has been misunderstood and even the Chief Minister said due to withdrawal symptoms none should die.

“It should be seen only as an advice,” said Shailaja.

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