Column: Tipplers Submit 7-Point Charter Of Demands To Govt
Pic Credit: Times Of India
By Sandeep Sahu
The Hon’ble Chief Minister, Odisha
On behalf of the Tipplers’ Association of Odisha, I express our sincerest gratitude to you for your kind decision to allow liquor shops and bars in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Puri to stay open till 1 am on January 1 in ‘public interest.’ The decision is yet another feather in your already overcrowded cap. In taking this courageous decision, you have proved beyond doubt that unlike the rest of the ill-informed and killjoy population, you don’t despise us or consider us a blot on society. Instead, you consider us rightful members of the ‘public’. We are now convinced that your government truly thinks of all Odias, including us tipplers.
But while thanking you from the core of our hearts for this revolutionary and progressive decision, we would like to place a few demands for your kind consideration and necessary action.
1. The Excise department may kindly consider extending the ‘zero hour’ to 1 am on January 2, if not more. You will agree that New Year celebrations are not limited just to New Year eve, but stretches well into the New Year. This is necessary to allow revellers the full opportunity to usher in the New Year in the right ‘spirit.’
2. Kindly consider exempting tipplers from breath inhaler checks and fines for drunken driving on New Year eve. We are sure you will realize that there is no fun in getting thoroughly sozzled while ushering in the New Year and then having to cough up a hefty fine or ending up at the police station in the wee hours. Without this measure, the whole noble purpose behind allowing liquor shops to remain open till 1 am gets completely lost. Drinking and breath analysis obviously can’t go together. If they do, we shall be compelled to view the relaxed sale hours for liquor as a trap to boost revenue. But since you have been kind enough to postpone the strict enforcement of the new Motor Vehicle Act for a three-month period twice, we are hopeful that you will show similar kindness and consideration for tipplers too.
3. In the interest of fairness and in deference to regional sentiments, please consider extending the relaxation in sale hours of liquors to the whole state. Otherwise, your government runs the risk of being accused of a bias for coastal areas. Why should our brethren in say Bhawanipatna or Baripada be deprived of the fun? They have as much right to enjoy the New Year as those living in the Twin City and Puri, don’t they? Such a decision would go a long way in convincing the people across Odisha that your government thinks of all Odias, irrespective of where they live or choose to spend the New Year eve.
4. In the interest of fairness again, kindly consider extending the relaxation in sale hours to country liquor shops as well so as not to invite allegations of a class bias. After all, our poor brothers and sisters, who cannot afford ‘foreign’ liquor, too have a right to celebrate the New Year.
5. Kindly instruct the liquor shops to introduce an incentive scheme for tipplers on New Year’s Day whereby anyone who buys a full bottle (quart/750 ml) gets another one, even if not a quart, free. This will encourage tipplers to buy more and drink more. This single measure will go a long way in achieving the targeted excise revenue for FY 2019-20. Free ‘chakhna’ with liquor would just be the icing on the New Year cake!
6. As a considerate gesture in view of the unique nature of New Year celebrations, please press police and other government vehicles into service to drop those too drunk to drive home. This will serve two purposes. First, it would obviate the need for breath analyser tests on the tippler and second, it would make sure there are no accidents due to drunken driving.
7. Last but not the least, please declare January 1 as a public holiday for all government and private establishments so that the revellers don’t have to wait till evening to start their celebrations.
Sir, we the tipplers of Odisha would remain perennially grateful to you for your government’s determined push for liquor throughout the length and breadth of the state. As responsible citizens, we do realize that liquor is a major source of revenue for any government and assure you our fullest cooperation to your government in its endeavour to augment its cash-strapped exchequer. We shall leave no stone unturned to ensure that the Rs. 4, 600 crore target the Excise department has set for itself during this fiscal is not just achieved, but is exceeded.
President, Tipplers’ Association of Odisha,
(DISCLAIMER: This is an opinion piece. The views expressed are the author’s own and have nothing to do with OTV’s charter or views. OTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same)