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River, Forest & Hills: Kerala Tipplers Cross All Hurdles to Enter Karnataka for a Bottle of Liquor

Most of the alcohol lovers are crossing the Kabini river backwaters in coracles to enter and exit Karnataka. Some are even crossing the shallow waters by foot.

Most of the alcohol lovers are crossing the Kabini river backwaters in coracles to enter and exit Karnataka. Some are even crossing the shallow waters by foot.

The densely forested, hilly terrain of the area is helping the boozers find a new route every day.

Bengaluru: Tipplers can do anything for a bottle of their favourite booze. Even cross a river or trek in a forest to reach the nearest liquor store.

Many alcohol lovers in the Wayanad district of Kerala are doing the same.

Left high and dry in Kerala because of the lockdown and no sale of liquor due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, hundreds of boozers are entering small border towns and villages in Karnataka’s Mysore to quench their thirst.

Bavali, a border village in HD Kote taluk of Mysore district, has become their favorite destination.

Ironically, ‘Bavali’ means ‘bat’ in Kannada. The same ‘bat’ has been linked to the virus, making these people liquorless!

Most of them are crossing the Kabini river backwaters in coracles to enter and exit Karnataka. Some are even crossing the shallow waters by foot at some points.

Others are either taking a hike in the forested hills or riding motorcycles like cross country racers in the unguarded stretches of forests to get a bottle or two.

While Karnataka has allowed the sale of liquor during the day, Kerala is yet to resume it.

Villagers in the border areas are expressing concern over the illegal entry and exit of Keralites, saying it might lead to the spread of Covid-19.

A few enthusiasts have been caught and sent back by locals. A few two wheelers have also been seized by them.

The Mysore district administration has tightened the vigil on the border to deter people from entering Karnataka for liquor.

But the densely forested, hilly terrain of the area is helping the boozers find a new route every day.

"Till Kerala allows the sale of liquor, it will continue like this. It is impossible to guard the entire stretch of the state border. It is not an international border to fence. People can easily enter and exit," said a local government official from Karnataka.

(Inputs and pictures by Puttappa in Mysore)