A BEVCO outlet | File photo: Mathrubhumi
Thiruvananthapuram: Despite the state government profiting from Beverages Corporation, liquor sales have plummeted by 33 per cent in the last ten years.
While 241.78 lakh cases of liquor were sold in 2011-12, it has declined to 187.22 lakh cases in 2020-21. The sharp decline in demand is largely attributed to various factors including the Covid-19 pandemic. Liquor sales fell by 4.91 crore litres during the period. Since 2014-15, there was a sharp decline from the average liquor sales of 220-240 lakh cases per annum recorded in previous years. By 2020, the numbers have fallen to less than 200 lakh cases.
Further, there is also a declining trend visible in the number of cases sold in the last three months in the state. On average, 20 lakh cases were sold per month. This has come down to 16 lakh. During December and January, liquor sales declined by 1.60 lakh and 1.45 lakh cases, respectively, compared to the previous year.
It is estimated that BevCo has lost an average revenue of Rs 300 crore due to this. But the loss in revenue is balanced by an increase in price and tax.
Apart from the pandemic and subsequent financial crisis, there are other factors that have contributed to the decline in liquor sales. It is argued that the increase in the use of drugs also results in a decrease in liquor sales. This is confirmed by the increase in the number of narcotic cases registered in recent years.