Sunday, January 24, 2010

Violation of Rules

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Alcohol Sales in Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Himachal Pardesh

Liquor intake in N. India high



Jan. 3: Shocking statistics collated by the People for Transparency — a Punjab-based civil action and awareness group — have exposed residents in the northern states of Haryana, Punjab, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and the Union Territory of Chandigarh as the biggest tipplers in the world!

Believe it or not, the average annual intake of alcoholic drinks in Chandigarh is a whopping 135.82 bottles (750 ml), which means that every adult man and woman above 18 years of age puts away 11 full bottles of whisky, rum, vodka or country liquor each month.

Haryanvis, who bore the brunt of the late Bansi Lal’s stringent prohibition policy in the mid-1990s, alarmingly follow the babus of Chandigarh.

In 2008-09, 1.2 crore Haryanvis polished off 26.52 crore bottles of various spirits. 1.10 Delhiites tucked away 16.28 crore bottles and the 45.41 lakh adult Himachalis got high on nearly six crore booze bottles.

Contrary to popular perception, 1.68 crore Punjabis, despite the larger than their life measures of the Patiala Peg and the Bhatinda Peg, could manage only an ‘ignominious’ 19 crore bottles.

Mr Kamal Anand of People for Transparency says, the alcohol consumption levels in North India are way beyond the global averages published by the World Health Organisation’s Global Status Report on Alcohol 2004 wherein the total recorded per capita consumption above 15 years is 0.82 litre of pure alcohol.

"Our compilations reveal that this figure is around 12.44 litres across Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Himachal and Chandigarh," he said adding, "Collectively, India has been identified as the third largest market for alcoholic beverages."


Chandigarh scores over others in liquor intake

Special Correspondent

Contrary to popular belief, a comparative analysis by a non-government organisation here has revealed that Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and the Union Territory of Chandigarh beat Punjab in per capita consumption of alcohol during the year just gone by. According to the NGO, the average consumption across the region was 12.44 litres as compared to the national average of 0.82 litre.

According to data released by People for Transparency as part of its “Stop under-age drinking” campaign, per capita consumption of alcohol in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Chandigarh during 2008-09 worked out to a heady 16.59 bottles. Information supplied by the respective Excise and Taxation departments of the different administrations indicated that nearly 4.5 crore adults, including women, consumed about 74.46 crore bottles of liquor of different brands during the year.

In Chandigarh alone, the per capita consumption came to a staggering 135.82 bottles even as smuggling and visitors were ignored. The city recorded sales of 65,736,000 bottles of alcohol during 2008-09, indicating a daily consumption of more than a quarter bottle for each adult.

Per capita consumption of alcohol in Haryana was 21.45 bottles despite a negative growth in sales, 14.72 bottles in Delhi, 12.80 bottles in Himachal Pradesh and 11.45 bottles in Punjab.

According to Kamal Anand of the NGO, India being the third largest market for alcoholic beverages has emerged as a favourite playing field for many multinational liquor companies. Clubbed with intense marketing, policy influence and intervention by the large players in the liquor trade, consumption of alcohol in all forms has gone up manifold, he rued.

Public health crusader Hemant Goswami, who worked to get Chandigarh its “first smoke-free city” status, said, “It is not a joke that Chandigarh has a sale of over 1.8 lakh bottles of alcohol every day. The liberalised policy on alcohol sale by the bureaucrats of Chandigarh is responsible for it. Even toy shops in Chandigarh now sell alcohol.”

Both Mr. Anand and Mr. Goswami note that the Excise Act is specific about the minimum age for drinking being 25. Despite that, there were less than 20 cases registered in all the five States in the past ten years for under-age drinking even though one could see youngsters consuming liquor in bars and discos.

“Despite such a specific direction in the Constitution, States ill-managed by politicians and bureaucrats take the excuse of finances and taxes generated by the liquor trade as a pretext to promote consumption of alcohol,” Mr. Anand complained.

“Not only the World Health Organisation but even governments all over the world are streamlining policies related to alcohol so that public health and public interest can supersede commercial interest, but India still seems to be working in the other direction,” he said.

Chandigarh adult drinks 11 bottles a month
( Jan 04 2010 )
The First Online South Asian News Source in Canada

Liquor sales show that Chandigarh adults drink 11 bottles of alcohol per month on an average, quite apart from beer and wine. Or annually, they drink nearly 136 bottles of alcohol.

Records show that nearly 200,000 bottles of liquor are sold in Chandigarh every day. Liquor trade insiders say the "high" figure is owing to liquor being cheaper in Chandigarh compared to other places.

Chandigarh saw 65,736,000 bottles of alcohol being sold in 2008-09 to a voting population (above 18 years of age) of 483,982 in its electoral rolls.

This has been revealed in information obtained by social activist Kamal Anand under the Right to Information (RTI) from Chandigarh's excise and taxation department for non-governmental organisation (NGO) People for Transparency for its campaign Stop Underage Drinking.

The information regarding liquor sales during 2008-09 does not include beer and wine. The NGO obtained information on alcohol sales from Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi.

The data showed higher per capita alcohol consumption in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh than in Punjab.

During 2008-09, Haryana's 1.2 crore adult population drank 26.52 crore bottles of alcohol. During this period, 16.28 crore bottles were consumed in Delhi.

In all, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Himachal and Delhi consumed 74.46 crore bottles of alcohol during 2008-09, Anand said here Sunday.

"This is certainly very good news for the alcohol industry but not for the health authorities," he added.

While the World Health Organisation (WHO) global status report on alcohol (2004) recorded alcohol per capita consumption among 15-plus age group at 0.82 litre of pure alcohol, the average of these states and Chandigarh came to 12.44 litres of alcohol annually.

Public health activist Hemant Goswami, who has worked hard to make Chandigarh the first smoke-free city, said: "It is no joke that Chandigarh has a sale of nearly two lakh bottles of liquor every day. The liberalised policy on alcohol sale by the bureaucrats of Chandigarh is responsible for it."

Anand complained: "The Excise Act is specific about the minimum age of drinking being 25. Despite that, there are less than 20 cases registered in these states and Chandigarh in the last 10 years for underage drinking, even though one can see children and youngsters in every bar, restaurant and disco drinking alcohol.

"Despite specific directions in the Constitution, states ill-managed by politicians and bureaucrats take the excuse of finances and taxes generated by the alcohol industry as a reason to promote alcohol."

Goswami said: "The government is spending crores of rupees on public health and de-addiction centres on one hand and on the other, it is promoting the use of alcohol. It is indeed shameful." (IANS)

Chandigarh on a high
Per capita consumption 136 bottles

Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
Blame it on the Chandigarh administration’s lopsided excise policy or the people’s changing lifestyle, the city is slowing turning into a Bacchus lovers’ paradise. The per capita consumption is around 136 bottles, a development which is set to ring alarms bells among a cross-section of society.

The figures are all the more alarming in the backdrop of the fact that the Excise Act prescribes 25 as the minimum age for drinking liquor.

With over 2 lakh bottles of liquor being sold in the city every day, the problem seems to have assumed alarming proportions, with smuggling not being ruled out.

And surprisingly, there are less than 20 cases registered in Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi in the past 10 years for underage drinking.

“The liberalised policy on alcohol sale by bureaucrats of Chandigarh is responsible for the problem and it is time for the administration to take note of the huge figure,” says public health activist Hemant Goswami.

In fact, information obtained under an RTI query by the NGO People for Transparency for its campaign ‘Stop! Underage Drinking’ presents an alarming picture of liquor consumption in the region.

Sturdy Haryanvis seems to have overtaken boisterous Punjabis, famous for their Patiala peg, as far alcohol consumption is concerned.

During 2008-09, 1.2 crore Haryanvis gulped 26.52 crore bottles of alcohol. Delhi with a population of 1.10 crore adults was far behind Haryana with 16.28 crore bottles of alcohol.

Even the hilly picturesque state of Himachal Pradesh managed to beat Punjab with regard to per capita alcohol consumption.

According to information provided by excise departments of the five states, the 4.5 crore adults consumed 74.46 crore bottles of alcohol during the year 2008-09.

“This is certainly very good news for the alcohol industry, but not for the health authorities,” said RTI activist Kamal Anand, who had compiled the information.

According to the World Health Organisation’s global status report on alcohol 2004, the total recorded per capita alcohol consumption among the age groups above 15 years of age was 0.82 litre of pure alcohol, but it was 12.44 litres of alcohol in the five states.

State high on liquor consumption
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
Just how much alcohol do you imagine is consumed in Punjab in a day? Nothing that you guess can be close to the figure. In 2008-2009, over 5.2 lakh bottles of liquor and 1.5 lakh bottles of beer were consumed in the state every day!

What should, however, be sending alarm bells ringing for the state health authorities is the trend that the consumption of alcohol has shown a marked increase in the past three years.

According to information gathered under the RTI Act, Kamal Anand, a Sangrur-based social activist campaigning against underage drinking, the average number of alcohol bottles consumed by a Punjabi male every year has gone up from one bottle a month to almost two a month. In 2005-06, the total number of bottles sold in Punjab was 13.51 crore. Out of this, only 3.48 crore bottles were of Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) and the rest of countrymade liquor.

In 2006-2007, the total number increased to 17.55 crore. The consumption of the IMFL increased by about two crore and the countrymade liquor consumption increased by another two crore. Interestingly, in 2007-08, the total annual consumption decreased to 16. 39 crore bottles. The sale of both IMFL and countrymade liquor dropped.

However, the last financial year saw the state jumping back to liquor consumption in a big way. Over 19.2 crore bottles were sold in 2008-2009. While the sale of both IMFL and countrymade liquor increased, the increase in the sale of countrymade liquor was significantly higher than the increase in number of IMFL bottles.

This could be good news for the Excise and Taxation Department in terms of raking in taxes, but anti-drinking activists are aghast and have squarely blamed the department for having failed in implementing several provisions of the Punjab Liquor License Act that keeps a check on the unhealthy practices of attracting customers.

“Punjab Liquor License Rules clearly state that liquor selling shop would not have decorative lights. But it seems excise department officials cannot see how almost at every shop these rules are violated with impunity,” said Anand.

“The vendor is also supposed to display the warning -use of alcohol is injurious to health in Hindi, Gurmukhi, English and Urdu. Instead there are hoardings like -pio aur ji- written on liquor shops,” he added.

Dr AS Mann, who is also part of the campaign- stop underage drinking- initiated by NGO People for Transparency, said the sale of alcohol to the person below the age of 25 was prohibited but majority of habitual drinkers began drinking much before they were 25. He added that only 17 venders have been proceeded against in the past several years for violating the rules.