Our complicated relationship with drink

Alcohol is so deeply ingrained in Bhutanese life that it pervades every aspect of our culture and our daily lives. In fact, it could be said that there is hardly a family in our society that is not in one way or another touched by alcoholism.
Our many efforts to address the problem of excessive consumption of alcohol have, however, not met with laudable success. Perhaps we could not be really serious about bringing down the use of something that is very much part of our culture and existence.
An inspection by the Department of Industry (DoI) has found that only 11 of the 42 drayangs in the country own bar licence. Of the 25 discotheques, only six has licence to operate bar.
Entertainment places like drayangs and discotheques run on booze. So the owners of such entertainment businesses are compelled to work out illegal arrangement with bar licence owners.
While renting out bar licence is against the law, one can transfer the ownership of the licence. That, however, could give rise to a different problem altogether. Price of licence will shoot over the roof, making transaction difficult for many. This will mean that drayings and discotheques without bar licence will have to close.
This rule also applies to restaurants with bar, which will affect their business. But all these are done for a good cause – to bring down the level of alcohol consumption in the society. A beginning was made when government stopped issuing bar licence from 2010. Our efforts must succeed.
We are good, perhaps exceptionally good, with crafting laws. But we are not good implementers. That’s why we have myriad problems in every sector that could otherwise be solved easily.
The problem of alcoholism is growing and taking a toll on national life. For us to succeed in dealing with the society’s problem of excessive consumption of drinks, flouting or ignoring the rules should no longer be tolerated.
We laud DoI’s efforts.

3 replies
  1. MIGNIEN
    MIGNIEN says:

    I propose a survey annymous with the “drinkers ” of alcohol , youth , old and any “lover” of that drink .
    But we have to definite what is a alcoholic : what quantity , what degree of alcohol , what habits – every days , once by month or because of a feast ?
    Question I suggest for the survey :
    – do you consider you are alcoholic?
    – why do you need hot drinks ?
    – what give you the abuse of drinking ?
    – what do you think about the consequence of your drinking over your family ?
    – Why can not you stop your abuse of drinking by yourself?
    – do you think that the legislators can help you to stop drinking ?
    – what do you think about the disfunctionning of the facts discovered by the Department of industry over lack of licence of bars and so on .
    – do you think if the regulations become more hard , it will help you to stop drinking .
    – Do you think there is corruption system in according licence to the bars , discotheques , and drayangs
    – What measure will be well balanced between total repression or leave business go on benefits like today .

    This survey will be very important to help the GVT to take decisions .
    But who is able to create and manage this survey ? That is an important question .

    jcmignien@orange.fr

  2. dorjiyang
    dorjiyang says:

    Alcoholism is equally a menace in some pockets of countryside, too. In the past, we could see people drunk only on festive occasions such as Tshechu or Losar. But today one can see people drunk right from the early hour of the day least worried about their responsibility to attend to family needs. It is ripping their life and the livelihood of the families. There really must be some strategies to help these poor folks lead a good life. I am sure if we conduct some studies we will find the reasons to alcoholism and also the solutions to it. Can government do something about it?

  3. irfan
    irfan says:

    Alcoholic beverages, its abuse and the consumption numbers are worse enough to give the health specialists a nightmare. Medical experts are always talking the alarming rise in numbers of alcohol related diseases and psychological affects of alcohol abuse.

    The business of alcoholic beverages have got its economics right for sure; but should it force the market to speculate that there is a well maintained reserve of alcohol from where we are simply pumping it like crude or ground water. That can’t be true; as otherwise the labels like 5% v/v or 42% v/v will sound totally insignificant. Is there any tap running alcoholic beverages 24X7?

    It’s good that Department of Industry is acting in the right direction now. Whether their prompt action will disturb the economics of alcoholic beverages or do it a favour will be known only on a later date. But every place of casual social gathering can’t be running only on liquor availability and its consumption. If there is any limit to consumption, it will be true for both alcoholic as well as non-alcoholic beverages. But health related ill affects will vary.

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