Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala government has issued guidelines to make alcohol available to people who show withdrawal symptoms during the COVID-19 lockdown. They could obtain a special pass from the excise office for buying booze if they manage to produce a doctor's certificate along with personal identification documents.
The state government, which overruled objections raised by a doctors' association, has ruled out opening the state monopoly alcohol sales outlets. The excise department, however, will issue only one pass per each applicant.
Persons showing alcohol withdrawal symptoms can go to government-run hospitals – primary health centres including ESI, block-level PHCs, taluk hospitals, district hospitals, general hospitals, speciality hospitals and medical colleges – to get them examined.
If the examining doctor certifies that the patient shows withdrawal symptoms, he could apply to the excise department for a bottle of booze.
The patient or a person deputed by the patient can produce the medical certificate and other documents to the nearby excise range office or circle office. Identification documents such as Aadhaar, voter's identification card or driving licence has to be produced along with the medical certificate.
The pass can then be taken to the Kerala State Beverages Corporation managing director, who will take necessary measures to distribute alcohol without opening the outlets.
The amount of alcohol distributed on the basis of special passes has to be informed to the excise department on a daily basis. The excise IT cell is tasked with the vetting of the passes to ensure that there is no malpractice or duplication.