In a rare move, a regional district headquarter of the Indian Coast Guard has passed orders to deny the issue of subsidised liquor to personnel who are “obese or overweight”.The order, titled Stoppage of Liquor Issue to Obese/Overweight Personnel, applies to officers and sailors who are part of Headquarters No. 1, Coast Guard District, Porbandar, Gujarat. This isn’t a pan-India ban and applies only to the regional district, said two officials familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified. The move is aimed at ensuring personnel stay fit, one of them said.
“As an interim measure to give a check, curb and minimise the obesity cases, it has been decided the liquor issue to obese/overweight personnel is to be stopped with immediate effect, as the consumption of liquor is known to be exaggerating the obese condition,” reads the order issued last week. Gujarat is a dry state but defence personnel can buy subsidised liquor from Canteen Stores Department outlets.The liquor ban on the unfit coast guard personnel will be lifted if they improve their fitness, says the August 30 order signed by IS Chauhan, deputy inspector general, commander, No. 1 Coast Guard District.
A coast guard officer posted in Porbandar said the order was a “temporary memorandum” and was being implemented. “The aim is to make sure people remain fit,” he said. But some experts believe it’s not the right move.“Fitness is important but I don’t think this is a good move,” said Lieutenant General BK Chopra (retd), a former director general of armed forces medical services.“There are laid down norms for weight and fitness and if people do not meet these standards their medical categories are downgraded, affecting career progression. Instead of such bans, people should be encouraged to take to sports, physical training and yoga to stay fitter,” Chopra added.Military personnel and veterans have a monthly liquor quota, depending on their rank.