Cover Story

Consumed by alcohol

Print edition : May 01, 2015

The crowd outside the government-run liquor shop at Overbridge, in Thiruvananthapuram. Photo: S. GOPAKUMAR

Oomen Chandy, Kerala Chief Minister. Photo: R.V. Moorthy

The village toddy shop at Thassarak in Palakkad with its old-world charm. Photo: K.K. Mustafah

A toddy shop at Achalikkavattam near Vyttila, Kochi. Photo: Vipin Chandran

Kerala Congress leader and Finance Minister K. M. Mani, accused of taking a bribe from bar owners. Photo: S. Ramesh Kurup

Excise official closing down a non-five-star hotel bar in Thiruvananthapuram. Photo: S. GOPAKUMAR

The political battles in Kerala over bar licences have obscured the dangerous reality that the State’s liquor business, nurtured and nourished by a murky bunch of businessmen, politicians, enforcement officials and an invisible mafia, has been growing by leaps and bounds even as the addiction to alcohol is emerging as a big social problem, particularly among the poor.
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