Thursday, February 13, 2014
India's "booziest state"????
The southern Indian state of Kerala, often referred to as God's own country, has the best socio-economic indicators in the country.
But its alarming alcohol addiction is earning the state a name for all the wrong reasons as the crime rate there also increases.
The god of choice here is Bacchus, the Roman deity of wine.
College student Raj Kumar has been in an alcohol rehabilitation clinic for more than two months in the state's capital, Thiruvananthapuram.
"I used to fight with my family members every day to feed my addiction," he said.
The 22-year-old, who has been drinking for more than seven years, says he'll be lucky if he comes out well.
"I used to get up feeling restless. For the last months since I have come here it is OK, but the urge to get back is still very strong."
Kerala is one of India's most progressive states in terms of social welfare and quality of life, boasting the highest literacy rates, life expectancy and lowest child mortality rates in the country.
But Tourism Secretary Suman Billa admits that alcoholism is a problem in the state despite its impressive social indicators.
"Kerala scores very well maternal mortality, health indices… and in terms of social engineering we are one of the greatest examples the world over," he said.
"But we still have a problem of alcoholism which is perhaps cultural and the reasons are manifold.
"Suicide rates are high and I think that is because of the sensitivities people have and perhaps we need to build stronger social bonding."
India's "booziest state"
Alcoholism, among all age groups, is on the rise and it's taking a toll on the state's 33 million-strong population.
In fact, Kerala has earned the tag of India's "booziest state", with the highest per capita consumption of liquor in the country.
People in the state consume an average eight quarts (two pints) of pure alcohol annually, government officials said.http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-02-14/an-indian-kerala-alcohol-feature/5260354
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