Friday, May 8, 2009
Another surprise on Vesak no one talks about
I blog experiences I encounter and are not tailored to be politically correct, as no one pays to read what I write and I am not beholden to anyone or under obligation. So after my blog entry below I wrote earlier today, my laptop needed recharging and on my way home, I encountered some neighbors, all women and children, dressed up, and wished them as they were walking to the Giritale Janapadaya temple, the closest here. I then encountered a group of men, all waiting for their afternoon shot of moonshine and I half jokingly was sarcastic to one who yesterday asked me for Rs200 for you know what. He proudly said he just purchased a bottle of “ seal arakku” earlier for 1200/- from ‘minni akka’ who he said would sell at least 500 bottles today in the Hingurakgoda town.
I analyzed this, as all bars are closed on Poya, a day of most demand for any brew. So this lady sells the normal retail sanstha gal, which normally retails for Rs 565, at Rs 1200. She would buy it wholesale and make a clear profit of about 700 a bottle. Anyone who does the math will realize if she sells only half what that man said she does, she makes a clear profit of 175K today. If she tells croocked law enforcement that she sells only 50 and will share profits equally with them, then 35K is given with the balance for her.
I am sorry to say that even the staff who work for me look forward to this, and I dread to extrapolate how much goes for the stuff and how much one has to pay both in fines and also to those in law enforcement to either look the other way, or reduce the purported illegal brew they confiscate, so as to minimize the fine. Despite Mathata Thitha, policy of the government, the reality is different as the greed and the money involved is too great to enforce the the law. So those who forced abstinence by not serving liquor even in hotels in Sri Lanka, don’t realize they are just punishing people who bring in legitimate money to the government in liquor tax, while promoting a lot of lawlessness, when bans and prohibitions, encourage the underworld with connivance of the police rotten apples.
For those of you who are unaware, alcohol sales rise enormously, on the eve of Poya, as that is a day when alcohol is consumed in quantity and all outlets including clubs and restaurants as well as all hotels in the Island are banned from serving alcohol. There is a small exception in hotels where I believe they can serve liquor in the hotel room, and at more expensive hotels the mini bar is stocked to partake in ones needs.
I admit I am using a small example of my locality to extrapolate, and in that regard admit that it is unfair to say that nothing has changed since the new Mathata Thitha rules. Any intelligent person would say that such laws only make the underworld wealthier and creates need when previously there were none. The excitement of doing something that is against the law, seems to be a need of the men. The camp that says to legalize cannabis, or ganja as it may result in a lower demand, as it just will not be lucrative as it is now seems to have merit. I believe that unless those given the task of enforcing the law, in fact profit from it being broken, then there is something wrong with the law or those enforcing it. You can suggest what you think should be done and comment on the blog. It is a point to note that the state coffers from Tobacco and Alcohol taxes, and fines from illicit sales of them amount to a lot more than the sum of corporate and income taxes.