Cherthala is a small town in Alappuzha district in Kerala. According to the 2011 Census, there are a little more than 45,000 people in the town.
On November 5, 2015, hundreds of those townspeople who seem to have been jonesing so bad for alcohol after a 3-day shut-down of liquor stores due to the Kerala local polls lined up outside two shops. Cherthala town has two state beverages corporation run shops, and people gathered outside these shop hours before the scheduled opening-time.
The crowd was so huge, that the staff manning one of the shops had to open the gates with caution for they could easily be the victims of a stampede.
At 5pm, they opened the gates and simply bolted towards the shop. And that’s what you see on that video.
Those gates in the video lead to two outlets run by the state beverages corporation in Cherthala.
"By 3.30pm there was a huge crowd in front of both the outlets. Since one shop had the gate locked they were waiting outside. This is not an unusual scene here, during festivals and after holidays the same rush is seen," says S Surendran, staff in-charge of the Cherthala outlet.
The two outlets did good business that day. One of the outlets sold booze worth Rs. 6 lakh, and sales in the other one touched Rs 5 lakh. And if this was the situation in one small town in the state, one can only imagine what would have been the situation in the entire state. It is estimated that the average collection in each outlet opened on November 5 in Kerala is Rs 4 lakh.
According to official figures from the state beverages corporation, the corporation saw state-wide sales of Rs 95 crore just on the two days of Onam celebrations this year. In 2014, the Onam sales were at Rs 83 crore. The total sales in 2012-13 was Rs. 8818 crore.