BOOZE flowing like water could be a tippler’s dream come true. But residents of an apartment complex in the South Indian state of Kerala recently woke up to a nightmare as they found an obnoxious mix of spirits flowing from their household taps.
The incident happened at Solomon Avenue Apartments in Thrissur district, where 18 families had “brown, stinking water” gushing from the taps.
“I could make out from the stench and taste that the water was alcohol-laden,” said Joshy Maliakkal, who was the first to raise a stink.
Soon, it was discovered that excise department officials had disposed about 6,000 litres of rum, brandy, whiskey and beer seized from an illegal bar close by into a pit near Solomon Avenue Apartments.
The heady ‘cocktail’ seeped through the soil into a well from which the residential complex drew water.
“This is an unfortunate incident,” said local councillor VJ Joji. “We have arranged alternative water supply to the apartments.”
Deputy Excise Commissioner T.K. Sanu said the liquor had been seized about six years ago from an illegal bar in the vicinity. After legal proceedings, the department had been ordered to dispose the illicit booze.
“We did not expect the operation to end up in such a mess,” he said.
The officer added that the well was cleaned “at least eight times”, and the excise department would bear the cost of supplying water to the apartment complex until the natural source was “fully clean”.