KOZHIKODE: One of the adverse impacts of bar closures on the streets and alleys of the district, say Excise officials of the district, is that tipplers buy their drink from a beverage unit but drink it in their old haunts. Residents and shopkeepers near Muhalakkulam say that almost all the narrow roads connecting from the other side of the city are crowded with tipplers soon after the outlet opens in the morning.
On Saturday alone, Excise officials recorded 10 arrests in the district. They say that the cases are more in the rural areas and that public consumption of alcohol, punishable under Abkari Act 15 C, is not considered as a crime by many. The charge carries a maximum penalty of `5,000 and six months of imprisonment. However, the penalty has not had any impact on tipplers, say officials.
“The boozers prefer any comfortable area for consumption of alcohol, no matter if it’s a public place. The trend is more in rural areas, though cities are not an exemption. On Saturday, three cases were registered in Balussery, two in Vadakara, two by the Kozhikode squad and one each in Vadakara range, Nadapuram and Perambra, along with a narcotic case,” said Excise Deputy Commissioner P.K. Suresh.
Along with the public consumption of alcohol, the COTPA cases getting registered are also on the rise. On an average, the Excise department registers 10 to 12 cases a day and this year, till date, the district recorded 120 cases under COTPA, said Mr Suresh. He added that the number of cases increased after schools opened in June. The sellers target schoolchildren more.