No drinking before 25? ‘Won’t work for Mumbai either’ | entertainment | Hindustan Times
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No drinking before 25? ‘Won’t work for Mumbai either’

Delhi-based activists and pub owners react against Maharashtra government’s decision to increase the legal drinking age to 25.

entertainment Updated: Jun 06, 2011 01:53 IST
Namya Sinha

If you’re under 25 and in Mumbai, say bye to your days of drinking and partying. In an effort to curb alcohol addiction, the Maharashtra government has increased the legal age of alcohol consumption from 21 to what it is in Delhi — 25. Reacting against the move, Delhi-based pub owners and activists say the age limit is unrealistic and doesn’t work even in the Capital.

“Mumbai had it right to start with. The minimum age for drinking across the country, should be 21. By this age, people are mature enough to make their own decisions; 25 is unrealistic,” says Prince Singhal, the founder of Campaign Against Drunken Driving (CADD). “It is just stupid. Why have a law that won’t be followed? People start earning at 21, if they can’t drink in pubs, they’ll go to thekas and drink in cars — how is that safer?” says Atul Kapur of @Live.

“We don’t serve alcohol to people under 25, because that is the law. But, if we are allowed to vote at 18 then why is 21 too young to drink? Most club-goers are between 21 and 25 — to curb them will only fuel rebellious behaviour,” says Amit Bhatnagar, general manager, F Bar and Lounge.

Even though it is illegal to sell alcohol without checking the ID proof, teenagers say most thekas never ask. “I’ve bought beer from a theka in Dwarka so many times, even though he knows I am in college,” says Shiv Kumar, 20.

The ruling has also been criticised by some in Bollywood. “If a guy below 25 is unqualified to decide if he should drink or not, is he qualified to vote,” asks filmmaker Ram Gopal Verma.

Figures show drinking starts well before 25
* Nearly 16% teenagers from 16-18 years of age, consume alcohol on a weekly basis
* 12% underage drinkers spend Rs 1,000 on alcohol almost every week
* Nearly 80% of those who frequent pubs, are below the legal age of 25 years
* 67% of underage drinkers in pubs are under 21
* Over 75% respondents from 22-24 years of age felt that 21 is ideal and realistic age for drinking.

*figures based on survey conducted by cadd in 2009

Laws elsewhere
* Legal age for drinking in Goa, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka is 18 years.
* The consumption of alcohol by anyone is prohibited in the states of Manipur, Mizoram and Gujarat.
* In Pennsylvania, USA, the law prohibits a man from buying alcohol without a note of permission from his wife
* In Denmark, to buy alcohol one should be 16 years old. There is no drinking age, only a purchase age, and an adult may buy alcohol for a minor