March 06, 2004


The above is part of the lyrics of a commercial for Crown malt beverage. Recently two such beverages (Crown & Hunter) became popular among the young who have found the replacement of beer in these. I have also tasted crown and it looks & tastes like beer. I wonder why it is called energy drink. However Its alcohol content is 4.8% and so it is legally defined as malt beverages in the country. Any beverages above 5% is restricted in the country.

But recently there were protests by the fundamentalist parties (their coalition partners) that govt. is letting beers (Crown & Hunter) sold legally and these should be banned outright. The govt. has yielded to the pressure and The Board of Investment has banned selling of the products on the ground that the company had failed to obtain a certificate from the government food and beverage watchdog, the Bangladesh Standard and Testing Institute.

I know from a reliable source that these malted beverages are exported in the middle east, particularly in the Saudi Arabia, and the company is registered in the BOI as an export oriented industry.

Now here is the contradiction. If it is an alcoholic drink why it is not banned in Saudi Arabia and exported there? And if it is not, then why it would be banned (not with proper way) in Bangladesh, because the law (5% alcohol) has not been amended. I am not soliciting for these drinks, because I personally don't like them. But I am asking questions: why there would be these loopholes, by which another clever companies would cash on by selling beer in another name? And why the govt. easily yields to fundamentalist parties pressure? The time has come for the govt. to think about their coalition partners as there is a strong chance that they would be overwhelmed by the fascists power.


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