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Cabinet says new alcohol industries be permitted

But alcohol content must not exceed eight percent

The Cabinet has issued a directive that the economic affairs ministry permit the establishment of new alcohol manufacturing industries, it was revealed at the national symposium on building partnership in reducing harmful use of alcohol in Bhutan, held last weekend, in Paro.

According to an economic affairs official speaking during the symposium, the Cabinet issued the directive stating that new alcohol manufacturing companies can be established as long as the alcohol content of their product does not exceed eight percent.

But what caused confusion among participants attending the symposium, was that the directive is conflicting with a national assembly decision made in January this year to disallow issuance of new licenses for liquor manufacturing.

Currently, a number of proposals to establish new alcohol industries are pending with the economic affairs ministry.

Participants also questioned how the Cabinet had arrived at the eight percent alcohol content level. Beer usually falls between four to six percent alcohol content, although it can go up to 12 percent, while cider, mead, and barley wine can fall in the eight percent category. Wine falls between nine to 16 percent alcohol content.

The economic affairs ministry policy and planning division did not respond to questions on what decision it will take regarding the directive, as of last evening.

In early 2010, the economic affairs ministry also suspended the issuance of new standalone bar licenses in a bid to lower alcohol consumption in the country, but exempted hotels from the suspension.

By Gyalsten K Dorji

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One comment

  1. I sometime get worried on the kind of community Bhutanese government is building. For instance, in Thimphu every other store is a bar or grocery cum bar. What does it indicate? To a lay person like me it is a drunken master’s country. Similarly, let’s say how many book stores in the valley? there are just four book stores which promotes good habits of readership. These statistics means a lot to lay person like me.

    Cabinet approving another alcohol industries is just going to add some more bars and grocery cum bars.

    On the hind side, has anybody studied carefully what impact it has on the wellbeing of nation and people? Did anybody looked at alcohol related diseases in the hospitals? Cost of referrals to treat these diseases abroad? No. of deaths, road kills, similarly cost of repair and maintenance of the accident vehicles? All these are costs of alcohol – because we depend on everything from other countries which is measured in imports and exports; not to undermine that mental trauma and sentiments of those family members.

    I would suggest the cabinet to study and look at all these things to give a go ahead signal.

    Can’t see where this road is taking us????????????????????

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